Skip to main content

Full text of "Mark Rothko, 1903-1970 : A Retrospective"

See other formats



MARK ROTHKO,1903-1970 
A Retrospective 



MARK ROTHKO, 1903-1970 

A Retrospective 

This project is supported by grants from 

Atlantic Richfield Foundation and the National Endowment 

for the Arts in Washington, D.C. , a Federal Agency 

The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York 

in association with 

The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston 
Walker Art Center, Minneapolis 
Los Angeles County Museum of Art 


Mark Rothko on his birthday' in 
1960, 222 Bowery, New York. 
Photo by Regma Bogat 

The American Sublime 

Copyright 1936 by Wallace Stevens and renewed 
1964 by Holly Stevens. Reprinted from The Collected 
Poems of Wallace Stevens, by permission of Alfred A. 
Knopf, Inc. 

Published by Harry N. Abrams, Inc. , New York, 
in collaboration with The Solomon R. Guggenheim 
Foundation, New York, 1978 

Book design: Nai Y. Chang 
Editor: Carol Fuerstein 

ISBN 0-89207-014-5 

Library of Congress Card Catalogue Number 78-584 1 1 

All Rights Reserved. No part of the contents 

of this book may be reproduced without the written 

permission of the publisher 

Printed and bound in Japan 

The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation 



Peter O. Lawson-Johnston 

The Right Honorable Earl Castle Stewart, Joseph W. Donner, John 
Hilson, Eugene W. Leake, Frank R. Milliken, A. Chauncey Newlin, 
Mrs. Henry Obre, Albert E. Thiele, Michael F. Wettach 

Solomon R. Guggenheim, Justin K. Thannhauser, Peggy Guggenheim 

The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum 





Thomas M. Messer 

Henry Berg, Deputy Director 

Susan Halper, Executive Assistant; Vanessa Jalet, Secretary to the 

Louise Averill Svendsen, Senior Curator; Diane Waldman, Curator of 
Exhibitions; Margit Rowell, Curator; Angelica Zander Rudenstine, 
Research Curator; Linda Konheim, Curatorial Administrator (on leave); 
Linda Shearer, Assistant Curator; Carol Fuerstein, Editor; Vivian 
Endicott Barnett, Curatorial Associate; Mary Joan Hall, Librarian; Ward 
Jackson, Archivist; Susan Ferleger, Philip Verre, Clair Zamoiski, 
Curatorial Coordinators; Susan Hirschfeld, Curatorial Assistant 

Mimi Poser, Public Affairs Officer; Miriam Emden, Membership 
Department Head 

Jane E. Heffner, Development Officer; Carolyn Porcelli, Development 

Agnes R. Connolly, Auditor; Duncan Ralph, Administrative Assistant; 
Philip Almeida, Restaurant Manager; Charles Hovland, Sales Supervisor; 
Darrie Hammer, Katherine W. Briggs, Information 

David Roger Anthony, Technical Officer; Orrin H. Riley, Conservator; 
Dana L. Cranmer, Conservation Assistant; Elizabeth M. Funghini, 
Cherie A. Summers, Associate Registrars; Jack Coyle, Registrars' 
Assistant; Saul Fuerstein, Preparator; Scott A. Wixon, Operations 
Coordinator; David Mortensen, Carpenter; Robert E. Mates, 
Photographer; Mary Donlon, Associate Photographer 

David A. Sutter, Building Superintendent; Guy Fletcher, Jr., Assistant 
Building Superintendent; Charles F. Banach, Head Guard 

Aye Simon 

Mr. and Mrs. William C. Edwards, Jr., Mr. and Mrs. Andrew P. Fuller, 
Mrs. Bernard F. Gimbel, Mr. and Mrs. Peter O. Lawson-Johnston, 
Mrs. Samuel I. Rosenman, Mr. and Mrs. S. H. Scheuer 

Alcoa Foundation, Atlantic Richfield Foundation, Exxon Corporation, 
Mobil Corporation 

National Endowment for the Arts, New York State Council on the Arts 

Lenders to the exhibition 

Mr. and Mrs. Donald Blinken 

Leonard and Ruth Bocour 

Honorable and Mrs. Irwin D. Davidson 

Gerald S. Elliott, Chicago 

Arnold and Milly Glimcher, New York 

Graham Gund 

Mr. and Mrs. Ben Heller, New York 

MH Holdings Inc. ( courtesy Mr.& 

Mrs. Donald B. Marron) 

Barbara and Donald Jonas 

Mr. and Mrs. Robert Kardon 

Mr. and Mrs. Michael Klebanoff, 

New York 

Mr. and Mrs. Oscar Kolin 

Mr. and Mrs. Richard E. Lang, 

Medina, Washington 

Steingrim Laursen, Copenhagen 

Dr. Paul Todd Makler 

McCrory Corporation, New York 

Mrs. Barnett Newman 

Betty Parsons, New York 

Mr. and Mrs. Gifford Phillips, 

New York 

Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Pulitzer, Jr. 

Tiziana de R. , Geneva 

Estate of Mark Rothko 

Estate of Mary Alice Rothko 

Mrs. Hannelore Schulhof 

Joseph E. Seagram & Sons, Inc. , 

New York 

Mr. and Mrs. Burton Tremaine, 
Meriden, Connecticut 
Frederick Weisman Family Collection 
Mr. and Mrs. Bagley Wright 

Albright-rCndx Art Gallery, Buffalo, 

New York 

Art Gallery of Ontario 

The Brooklyn Museum 

Dartmouth College Museum and 

Galleries, Hanover, New Hampshire 

The Fort Worth Art Museum 

Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, 


Milwaukee Art Center 

Munson- Williams-Proctor Institute, 

Utica, New York 

Museum of Art, Carnegie Institute, 


Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of 

Design, Providence 

The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston 

The Museum of Modern Art, 

New York 

The Phillips Collection, Washington, D. C. 

The St. Louis Art Museum 

Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art 

The Toledo Museum of Art 

University Art Museum, University of 

California, Berkeley 

Vassar College Art Gallery, 

Poughkeepsie, New York 

Whitney Museum of American Art, 

New York 

Galerie Beyeler, Basel 

Gimpel & Hanover Galerie, Zurich 

The Pace Gallery 

Table of Contents 

Lenders to the Exhibition p. 6 

Acknowledgements Thomas M. Messer, p. 9 

Preface Thomas M. Messer, p. 12 

The Aquamarine Sunrise: A Memory of Roth ko Bernard Malamud, p. 13 

Mark Rothko: The Farther Shore of Art Diane Waldman, p. 16 

Plates p. 73 

Chronology Clair Zamoiski, p. 265 

Exhibitions and Selected Reviews p. 280 

Bibliography p. 292 

Photographic Credits p. 296 

Digitized by the Internet Archive 

in 2012 with funding from 

Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum Library and Archives 



retrospective of Mark Rothko's painting would be an event of signifi- 
cance in any circumstances. The current presentation, however, is unique in 
two respects: first, it is the most comprehensive survey of Rothko's work ever 
held and, second, the artist's tragic death in 1970 bestows upon it a finality 
which obviously would not obtain in an exhibition mounted during his 
lifetime. Furthermore, this is the first show of Rothko's painting after an 
almost decade-long hiatus caused by extensive litigation — court proceed- 
ings that made it impossible until now to realize an exhibition or even to gain 
access to a representative sampling of the artist's lifework from which a 
selection could be made. 

Foremost among those who have extended their confidence to the 
Guggenheim Museum are the artist's daughter, Kate, and her husband, Ilya 
Prizel. Together with Edward J. Ross, of Breed, Abbott & Morgan, legal 
representative for the Estate of Mark Rothko, and Sally and William Scharf, 
the Prizels continued to extend their help and support in every aspect of the 
project. In addition, Herbert Ferber, Executor, Estate of Mary Alice Rothko, 
and Stanley Geller, of Butler, Jablow and Geller, attorney for the Estate of 
Mary Alice Rothko, have helped us with the extensive work relating to the 
estate of the artist's wife. We also wish to acknowledge favorable action 
recommended by the newly-appointed Board of the Mark Rothko Foundation 
comprised of Donald Blinken, Chairman, Dorothy C. Miller, Gifford Phil- 
lips, David Prager, Emily Rauh Pulitzer, William Scharf and Jack Tworkov. 
Financing subsequently assumed great importance because of the exhi- 
bition's comprehensive scale and the high values of the works involved. The 
enormous interest shown by leading American museums from coast to coast 
resulted in a welcome pattern of collaboration. The Museum of Fine Arts, 
Houston, William C. Agee, Director; the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, 
Martin Friedman, Director; and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 
Kenneth Donahue, Director, agreed to cosponsor the presentation with the 
Guggenheim, thereby assuming for all participants a double advantage: 
broadened national impact for the show and increased financial resources, as 
each of the four museums assumed basic costs during the retrospective's 
year-long circulation. But even with this collaboration, expenses would have 
outrun available finances had the enterprise not benefited from corporate as 
well as governmental support — the two principal sources of funding that 
have become increasingly important for cultural institutions in recent years. 
We therefore underline the appreciation of all the participating museums for 

the equivalent sponsorship of the exhibition by the Atlantic Richfield 
Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. Both may take credit 
for helping to launch this significant event. 

The selection, organization and staging of the exhibition, as well as the 
authorship of the catalogue which accompanies it were the responsibility of 
Diane Waldman, the Guggenheim's Curator of Exhibitions. Mrs. Waldman 
approached her task with exemplary thoroughness, seeking out primary 
sources of information and thus adding substantially to the existing fund of 
knowledge about the artist, his life and his work. In the process of her 
researches, she obtained much new and valuable information, often in the 
form of previously unpublished documentary material, from the following 
friends and colleagues of Mark Rothko: Mrs. Milton Avery, Jimmy Ernst, 
Mrs. Adolph Gottlieb, H. R. Hays, Buffie Johnson, Katharine Kuh, 
Mildred and Joseph Liss, Dorothy C. Miller, Dr. Max Naimark, Mrs. 
Barnett Newman; Wallace Putnam, Jon Schueler; Lee Sievan, Joseph Sol- 
man, Oliver Steindecker, Pat Ttivigno, Jack Tworkov and Edward Wein- 
stein. The following have helped us obtain photographs and gather informa- 
tion about Rothko's work: Ronnie Baer, The Museum of Modern Art, New 
York; Sidney Janis Gallery; Mayor Gallery; David McKee Gallery; Pace 
Gallery; Betty Parsons Gallery. The catalogue obviously has been greatly 
enriched by Mrs. Waldman's extensive essay and by the personal recollec- 
tions of Bernard Malamud which shed new light upon the subject of this 

An undertaking as far-reaching as the current exhibition and catalogue 
involves all levels of the Museum's organization. Therefore, the 
Guggenheim's staff as a whole should be thanked for their diligence and 
devotion. The following staff members were most directly concerned with 
the preparation of the exhibition and the catalogue: Clair Zamoiski, Cura- 
torial Coordinator, who contributed to all aspects of the exhibition and 
publication; Carol Fuerstein, Editor, who edited the catalogue and saw it 
through the presses; Susan Hirschfeld, Curatorial Assistant, who helped with 
the publication's preparation and production; Maud Lavin, Curatorial In- 
tern, who did research; Linda Shearer, Assistant Curator, who aided in the 
exhibition's preliminary stages. 

Our last and in some ways most important acknowledgement is ad- 
dressed to the lenders who, in a most tangible sense, have made this 
retrospective possible. Unless they wished to remain anonymous, their 
names are cited elsewhere in this catalogue, but our indebtedness to them 
and our gratitude for the confidence that their loans imply go far beyond such 
a perfunctory gesture. 

Mark Rothko, 1903—1970: A Retrospective represents a mighty commit- 
ment by the participating museums — one that was realized only with the 
fullest aid and support of every kind. In Diane Waldman's name and on 
behalf of my colleagues, I therefore extend to all those who have helped so 
generously, our deeply felt gratitude. 

Thomas M. Messer, Director 

The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum 


Ca. 1925 


12 J_VXark Rothko shares with composers of music an absence of explicit 

imagery and a correspondingly developed capacity to evoke content by 
association; an ability to engage the responding organ (in his case, the eye) in 
a process that is akin to listening because it involves attention to consecutive 
passages; an interest in rhythmic structures (in his case, spatially articu- 
lated); and the use of color to achieve modulations that can be subtly 
chromatic or dramatically contrasted. Beyond this, Rothko's sensibility 
would seem to evoke the era of German Romanricism arid with it the great 
names from Schubert through Brahms. Like them, Rothko is a creator of 
melodic surfaces rendered vital and sonorous by means of formal structures 
which are, for rhe most part, hidden. Also, like many of them, Rothko often 
creates for himself restricted formats which he then explores in a seemingly 
endless succession of rich variants. Finally, Rothko's orchestral propensities 
are, like those of the great Romantics, simultaneously ponderous and heroic, 
often lyrical in mood but never sentimental. 

But music comes to mind here not only because Rothko uses devices 
analogous to those of the composers nor because he shares with them a 
broadly romantic sensibility. We think of music because Rothko's painting, 
so firmly structured, so rhythmically articulated and so subtly colored, has 
achieved a directness and force of expression rightly attributed to the tonal 
language more than to any other. 

This comprehensive retrospective of Mark Rothko's lifework at the 
Guggenheim Museum and three American sister institutions should, there- 
fore, envelop the visitor in an experience simultaneously intellectual and 
sensuous — an experience which reaches through eyes, deepened in rheir 
capacity, to the mind, the heart and the total being. 

T. M. M. 

The Aquamarine Sunrise: a memory of Roth ko 


-ark had been to John Kennedy's inaugural blast in 1961 and here he 
was, four years later, at Lyndon Johnson's, where my wife Ann and I met him 
and Mell. That night we were riding with two busloads of artists and 
performers from one pleasant entertainment to another. The company was 
exciting, the mood hilarious — Happy New Year still going on. Either on our 
bus, or at one party or another, I remember seeing or talking with people like 
Samuel Barber, Jasper Johns, Richard Wilbur, Anna Moffo, William Goyen 
and Edward Steichen. The buses were marked "Cultural Leaders" and led by 
sirening police cars at a fast clip through the streets of Washington. Mell 
Rothko, twenty years younger than her husband, was chatting from the seat 
behind us with Ann. Then Mark leaned forward and introduced himself. For 
a moment because of my associations with the Northwest I thought he had 
said Mark Tobey but he set me straight. We enjoyed being cultural leaders. 
Mark was beamish. Mell, in a happy mood, told my wife she had got him to 
propose by sitting in his lap and asking him to. 

At dinner in the New State Department building, Mark and Mell, Ann 
and I, and, I think, Bill and Doris Goyen, sat together at a table with Henry 
Cabot Lodge, who was then Ambassador to South Vietnam, and his wife 
Emily. The Ambassador piled his plate and ate away: he said he hadn't eaten 
lunch. Mark, after cocktails, was high. He turned to Lodge and owlishly 
asked, "And what do you do?" Lodge told him. Mark, taking another look at 
him, got up on his feet and apologized. Lodge nodded courteously. They 
shook hands. Mark later told Ann the incident had embarrassed him. 

After that we occasionally met Mark in New York City, usually at the 
home of Use and Karl Schrag, the painter and printmaker. They were 
neighbors who lived diagonally across the way from the Rothkos on East 
95th. One day I was in town and coming to dinner at the Schrags. Use had 
gone across the street and lent Mark one of my books. He said he didn't read 
much but would have a go at it. She invited him to join us at dinner. He told 
her he liked being invited out at short notice, but he didn't think his wife 
would want to come. When he came over he told me he was familiar with the 
kind of people I'd written about in my book. He spoke of his Jewish 
immigrant family in Portland, Oregon, when he was a boy. I was very much 
interested in the Oregon connection because I had lived for a dozen years in 
Corvallis, a town south of Portland. Mark liked to reminisce: One night he 
told us how he had left his first wife. He had gone off for an army physical 
during World War II and they had turned him down. When he arrived home 







At the "Icehouse,'' Yorktown 
Heights, New York, ca. 1949 

Ca. 1964-66 

and told his wife he was 4-F he didn't like the look that flitted across het face. 
The next day he went to see his lawyet about a divorce. 

Once, early in the winter of 1969, when we were subletting an apart- 
ment on Gramercy Park South, I stopped by to see Mark in his studio on East 
69th Street. He wasn't working and seemed glad I had come. We spent most 
of the afternoon in the huge studio listening to Mozart and talking casually. 
On the coffee table was an open book on Shakespeare. He told me he had left 
Mell and talked about his depression. Mark recited his various troubles yet 
seemed content with himself. He had had a good summer, not at the 
beginning but good after a while. He had beaten out a severe depression and 
after a difficult time was able to work well in Provincetown. At first he'd 

been given an antidepressant that tasted "brassy" and hadn't entirely relieved 
him so he went to another doctor, who had added or subtracted a pill, and 
thereafter he felt relief and could work. He'd had a prolific several months 
painting a flood of acrylics on paper. He said they had come to hundreds of 
paintings that summer and afterwards. He was in a period of wonderful 
productivity. It was a fine afternoon. 

When I asked if I could see some of the summer's work he said he had 
already sold the best paintings. He dropped about ten or a dozen on the floor 
and said I could select from all but one, if I wanted. That was a black 
rectangle, about two feet by three, the black broken by a three or four inch 
jagged section in bright aquamarine. The aquamarine looked like light 
breaking through night. It was an uneven form, perhaps zigzag, unlike 
anything I'd seen in his work. I wondered if he was unwilling to part with it 
because it was a unique form for him; and I felt the picture held some special 
significance, which I interpreted to be symbolic of the dissolution of his 
black mood. I asked about that painting but he said he wouldn't part with it. 15 

I wasn't much taken by the one-tone flat maroons and almost solid 
blacks on the floor but offered to show two of them to my wife. Mark said I 
could have the two for six-thousand dollars. He rolled the paintings into a 
cardboard cylinder which I brought home to Bennington. Ann and I 
examined them and decided they didn't represent Rothko to us. She returned 
them in the cylinder, insured, as Mark had requested, for twelve thousand 
dollars apiece. I sent a note saying that when he did some more acrylics on 
paper we hoped he would let us see them. There was no reply. 

When we talked on the phone in December, when I was again spending 
the winter at Gramercy Park, I invited him to a party at our apartment and he 
said he would come and could he bring a friend. The night of the party he 
called to say he couldn't make it and would like to have a rain check. I said 
that for me where there was rain there were rain checks. 

Shortly before he died in February, 1970, the Schrags saw Mark from 
their window, across the street. His long hair was lank. He looked haggard, 
pale, joyless. 

That cold winter's night, one day after Mark Rothko had committed 
suicide, there was a small talky subdued crowd at the funeral home on 
Madison Avenue. Mark lay in his coffin with a pair of horn-rimmed glasses 
on his nose. He had been shaved and barbered and dressed in a dark suit. 
Standing there, I made my peace with him. 

Karl Schrag thought he would not have taken his life if he hadn't been 
seriously ill. 

Stanley Kunitz said that his death meant the end of an era in painting. 

Mell, as I left, was glad I could come. 

I said I didn't think I would be going to the funeral tomorrow. 

She asked if I remembered the night in the bus when we were cultural 
leaders and everything was fine. 

Bernard Malamud 

1 The American Sublime 

How does one stand 
To behold the sublime, 
To confront the mockers, 
The mickey mockers 
And plated pairs? 

When General Jackson 
Posed for his statue 
He knew how one feels. 
Shall a man go barefoot 
Blinking and blank? 

But how does one feel? 
One grows used to the weather, 
The landscape and that; 
And the sublime comes down 
To the spirit itself, 

The spirit and space, 

The empty spirit 

In vacant space. 

What wine does one drink? 

What bread does one eat? 

Wallace Stevens, 1935 


The Farther Shore of Art 


At the "Icehouse,'' Yorktown Heights, New York, ca. 1949 

The death of Mark Rothko on February 25, 1970, at the age of 67, brought 
to a close an era in which the myth of the artist as hero seemed as important as 
the period's now legendary paintings. Arshile Gorky, Jackson Pollock, 
David Smith, Franz Kline and others of the New York School had also met 
untimely ends, but it is Rothko's suicide that is the most disturbing, 
symbolically, of all these deaths. For it came in an age that values neither the 
hero nor the antihero and it demonstrated clearly, not a disbelief in art, but 
in the central role of the self in painting — a concept vital to Rothko and his 
contemporaries but antithetical to the ideas of a subsequent generation 
which views detachment on the part of the artist as essential. 

Rothko's ambition was to rank with the greatest figures of Western 
art. This painter of genius wanted to achieve the grandeur of tradition and 
at the same time to rebel against tradition. The struggle to attain this 
paradoxical goal ultimately destroyed his confidence. The tragedy of Roth- 
ko's death, then, lies not only in its termination of a brilliant career, but in 
that it marked the end of an attitude towards the role of the artist and art 




■ wjulrw b* |M r^vtetlom o* 1M t— tv) * Ommu .~J L.oor rt ih UnlUd lUtM, ui*.r Act at 0<M«r«— utn-ri Fabritrr 20. 1907, 10 M dWwM 


sailiMg from 

fig. 1 

Manifest of Alien Passengers for the United States 
Immigration Officer at Port of Arrival, August 
17, 1913 




jSr« ^_. 

iJL~—~> AV* 


■ »*■■ 6*- 


: J3? 

^-v/irnff^wli-rri -n r ii ^Bs*<. 

£>*$* )*rt /^ ^ ^L,^- I "' 



A*V IU— . ,£.— ■*- 

T«l» IHtll IS ro« HMHOCAtll. MMINQCM. 



»0 th* Unlt*d llilM immiinlion Oiric.r b, ih. Commindln t C 

trnvtttg at Port of 

'I 4i» iiwi| Iwch piiKn|iri on boara upon iidtil at a port in lie United SIMM 

: j! sfi!^"--.. "*~-" I ills-?— - 

- C &^^i 1^= * — i j j !,;: sr -ar — 

r.-„fc__ +-Ma -<■ ' no. "a (P™ 

■ -fu irofwi no -r t 
- ' **°- ' ■ J - ■ ii TO _ 


V" 1 

^^r - < — 






no ' ..J 

. hl /v> ivjtnood J" ' 

r. lrm n , «J "a j- i 

una .: i.a j 4 

n*\ i • no >. - - 

U"/»-^"-i>-i™) i <■/■ 





' . -i. 



'n August 5, 1913, the ten year old Marcus Rothkowitz sailed to 
America aboard the S.S. Czar from the Russian port of Libau with his 
mother, Anna, and his older sister, Sonia. His father, Jacob, a fairly 
well-to-do pharmacist in Russia, had emigrated to the United States in 
1910. He traveled to Portland, Oregon, where his brother, Samuel Wein- 
stein, had established himself some years earlier and founded a flourishing 
men's clothing business, the New York Outfitting Company. 1 Shortly after 
the senior Rothkowitz found employment as a pharmacist, he sent for his two 
eldest sons, Moise and Albert, and two years later for his wife, daughter and 
Marcus, the youngest child. 

The latter three, listed in the Manifest of Alien Passengers (fig. 1) as 
"Markus," "Scheine" and "Chaje Rotkowicz," arrived in New York on 
August 17 . As second-cabin passengers they did not have to enter the United 
States through Ellis Island. Instead, they disembarked in New York and 
then proceeded to New Haven, where they stayed with Weinstein cousins for 
ten days. Then they traveled by train to Portland, wearing badges indicating 
they did not speak English. In Portland, they settled in the Jewish section of 
the southwest part of town. Seven months after they arrived, Jacob died. 

Life in Czarist Russia was very difficult for most Jews. Subject to 
extreme repression, they were unable to move about freely and were re- 
stricted to living in certain quarters. Advanced education was a privilege 
denied to all but a tiny minority. There was a quota system, with few Jews 
allowed into high school and even fewer into college. Nonetheless, Jacob 
Rothkowitz was able to provide a comfortable existence for his family and 
schooling for his children. Born on September 25, 1903, in Dvinsk, Marcus 
was considerably younger than his sister, who was fourteen at the time of his 
birth, and his brothers Moise and Albert, who were eleven and eight 
respectively. Like many Jewish boys in Eastern Europe in this era, Marcus 
was sent to Hebrew school and studied the scriptures and the Talmud. 
Despite these educational advantages, the family faced an uncertain future in 
Russia, and Jacob decided that they would fare better in America. 

When Jacob died, the children were forced to go to work. Sonia, who had 
been trained as a dentist in Russia, became a bookkeeper and clerk at the New 
York Outfitting Company, while Moise and Albert also worked for the 
Weinstein family until they learned English well enough to pass the qualifying 
exams required to become pharmacists. Marcus worked as a delivery boy and 
took on a newspaper route. 


fig. 2 

Shattuck School, Portland, Oregon 


fig 3 

Old Lincoln High School , Portland, Oregon 

fig. 4 

Newspaper clipping showing Naimark, 
Director and Rothkowitz, September 18, 
1921. Courtesy Dr Max Naimark 



/&jrjfa//77& , s~sir. 

Bos*- S L 



Three graduates of the Lincoln high school In the June '21 class left 
Portland last week to enter Yale. They are Marcus Rothkowitz, Max 
.Valmark and Harry Director, three Russian boys, none of whom has been In 
,thls country longer than seven years. 

All three made brilliant records In scholarship during the time they were 
In Lincoln high and passed their college entrance examinations soon after 
graduation. They will stay at Yale four years. They Intend to become 
professional men, but have not yet decided upon their life work. 
1 Max Naimark has been In the United States only four years. He spent 
Ine year In the elementary schools and three years In high school. All threoj 
■ nk pip college preparatory course In high school. 

Marcus attended Shattuck Grade School and Lincoln High School, 
completing high school with an extraordinary record in only three years (figs. 
2,3)- While attending Lincoln, he worked in the shipping department of the 
family store. At this time, Marcus took drawing and painting classes at a 
local art school with two of his cousins and often sketched on the store 
wrapping paper. 2 His feeling for music emerged now, encouraged by his 
uncle, Samuel Weinstein, whose two daughters studied at Juilliard. Al- 
though Marcus had no formal music training, he taught himself to play the 
mandolin and later the piano. In high school, he was especially interested in 
social studies and literature and, despite his recent emigration, was fluent 
enough in English to be a proficient debater. Concerned with the labor 
movement and radical causes, he hoped to be a labor organizer, an ambition 
consistent with the liberal politics of many Russian Jews, born of the harsh 
realities of their situation. Many years later, the artist related: 

While 1 was still in grade school . . . I listened to Emma Goldman and to j \ 

the IWW orators who were plentiful on the West Coast in those days. I was 

enchanted by their naive and child-like vision. Later, sometime in the 

Twenties I guess 1 lost all faith in the idea of progress and reform . So did all 

my friends. Perhaps we were disillusioned because everything seemed so 

frozen and helpless during the Coolidge and Hoover era. But I am still an 

anarchist. What else? 2 

In September 192 1, Rothkowitz left Portland for New Haven to attend 
Yale University — a Weinstein family tradition — with two former high 
school classmates and fellow Russian emigrants, Aaron Harry Director and 
Max Naimark(fig. 4). The dean of Yale, sent to Portland to recruit students, 
and Lincoln High School's chemistry teacher, a Yale graduate, had encour- 
aged them to apply to the University. The three traveled across country by 
train. Marcus and Max shared a Pullman berth. 

Naimark recounts their stay at the University as follows: 

During our freshman year at Yale, Marcus and I roomed together in a 
third floor room . . . at 840 Howard Avenue , NewHaven. . . . Marc and I 
didn't see much of each other except late in the evenings when we returned to 
our room. . . .Marcus didn't seem to need much studying and spent a 
considerable amount of time with his relatives in New Haven . . . the 
Weinsteins . . . who also lived on Howard Avenue . . . . The Weinsteins had 
two sons, architects, graduates of Yale and living in Neiv Haven at the 
time. As far as I was concerned. Marc was brilliant. He did not have to 
study much, didn't pay much attention to some of the subjects or the 
professors he didn't particularly like. 

For the second year at Yale . . . Marc moved to the Yale dorms and roomed 
with Harry Director and another student. 

At no time have I seen Marc paint. He did much informal drawing and 
sketching which to me looked quite good but that's about all. 4 

Although Marcus and his two friends had received full scholarships to the 
University, these were cancelled after one year. Nevertheless, all three stayed 
on. Marcus remained until 1923, studying English, French, history, 
mathematics, physics, biology, economics and philosophy. During his sec- 
ond year he took all his meals with the Weinsteins to save money and worked 

at odd jobs in the Yale student Iaundty and at two different cleanets neat the 
campus. He excelled in math and setiously consideted becoming an en- 
gineer. In his sophomote yeat, Rothkowitz, Ditectot and Simon Whitney, 
another student, published a short-lived weekly, the progressive The Yale 
Saturday Evening Pest. More a pamphlet than a newspaper, it contained 
articles, comments, editotials and criticism on subjects of interest to Yale 
students. The sheet's decidedly liberal point of view as well as its propagan- 
dist nature were quite unusual for Yale in the twenties. 

Marcus left Yale — probably because he became bored with his studies, 
possibly also due to financial difficulties — in 1923, without receiving his 
degree, to "wander around, bum about, starve a bit." 5 Without any cleat 
idea of what he wanted to do, he moved to New York and rented a room at 19 
West 102nd Street. He seems to have become an artist by chance. "I 
happened to wander into an art class, to meet a friend who was taking the 
course," he explained. "All the students were sketching the nude model — 
22 and right away I decided that was the life fot me." 6 He began taking anatomy 

courses at the Art Students League with George Bndgman. At this time, he 
suppotted himself by taking odd jobs, including work in the garment 
district. Rothkowitz worked for a while as a bookkeeper for a Weinstein 
relative, Samuel Nichtberger, a CPA and tax attorney with offices on 
Broadway. Naimark tells us: 

Not too long after he left Yale I saw him in the Bronx [sic] where he lived 
in a one room apartment and I got the impression that he was earning a few 
dollars drawing patterns for some materials. I lost track of him after that, 
though I did hear that he hitchhiked to the West Coast once or twice but 
didn't know anything definite for some years. Then I began to hear and 
read about his accomplishments as a painter and artist. 7 

He returned for a short period in 1924 to Portland and joined an acting 
company run by Clark Gable's first wife, Josephine Dillon. Gable was also in 
the company then and it is likely that they became acquainted befote Gable 
left for Hollywood with Miss Dillon. In fact, the artist was to claim that 
Gable had been his understudy. Despite the brief duration of this experience, 
his fascination for theater continued. To some extent it influenced his choice 
of dramatic themes in his painting of the early 1940's. And as late as 1947-48 
he said: 

/ think of my pictures as dramas; the shapes in the pictures are the 
performers. They have been created from the need for a group of actors who 
are able to move dramatically without embarrassment and execute gestures 
without shame. 9 

Although Rothkowitz continued to make frequent visits to Portland 
during the 1920's, he returned to New York for good in 1925. He had reached 
a decision about his future dictated not by his love of math, music, literature, 
philosophy, engineering, radical causes or the theater, but by a compelling 
interest in art. Mozart, Schubert, Beethoven, Shakespeare, Nietzsche and 
Kierkegaard continued to sustain and nutture him throughout his life. He was 
fascinated by literature and had apparently once considered becoming a 
professional writer. But his commitment to painting prevailed, and from now 
on he devoted himself to it. Years afterward, he was to remark: "I became a 
painter because I wanted to raise painting to the level of poignancy of music 
and poetry." 9 

At the beginning of his career, he was still known as Marcus 
Rothkowitz. In 1940, however, he began to use the name Mark Rothko, first 
sporadically and with minor variations, such as Marcus Rothko, then consis- 
tently and without modifications. Although he became a United States 
citizen in 1938, he did not legally change his name until 1959- Exactly why 
he chose to shorten his name is unknown. Friends have variously explained 
that he was asked to change his name by a dealer, that it signalled a dramatic 
change in his style, or that the artist himself decided it was too cumbersome, 
too foreign and that a simpler one would be better for his career, citing the 
painter Arshile Gorky as a precedent. 

His works of the late twenties, conventional but sensitive urban scenes, 
spontaneous landscapes and studies of nudes (cat. nos. 2, 6), are the products 
of a young and talented student. They reflect a realist trend dominant in 
American art in the 1920's that had little to do with the ongoing revolution 
in painting and sculpture taking place in Europe. Cubism, Futurism, 
Suprematism, Constructivism, Dadaism and Surrealism were alien to the 23 

experience of most artists in the United States at this time. As Rothko later 
said of realism, "that was what we inherited." 10 

Artists like Thomas Hart Benton set the standard for American paint- 
ing during the 1920's and 1930's. Benton, like many others who had 
embraced avant-garde art, turned violently against abstraction after World 
War I. His reaction was symptomatic of the country's political, social and 
aesthetic conservatism, its isolationism and chauvinism, its mood of pro- 
found despair, born of the war and deepened by the Depression. Provin- 
cialism in the form of the Regionalism favored by Benton, Grant Wood and 
John Steuart Curry and the American Scene Painting of Reginald Marsh, 
Isabel Bishop, the Soyer brothers, the Social Realism of Ben Shahn and 
Philip Evergood and others, prevailed in the American artistic climate until 
World War II. Even artists like Georgia O'Keeffe, Marsden Hartley and 
Stanton MacDonald- Wright, who had been in the crowded vanguard of 
experimental abstraction, returned at least for a time to representation. 
Although a small number of Americans, Arthur Dove, Morgan Russell and 
Stuart Davis among them, and Europeans, like Josef Albers and Hans Hof- 
mann, who came to the United States in the early 1930's, continued to work 
in advanced styles, the majority of painters concerned themselves with 
depicting the poverty and disillusionment of the downtrodden urban masses or 
celebrated rural life. Everyday reality was the subject of artistic comment, as 
painting often became topical, journalistic, illustrational. 

The Regionalism or "realism" that Rothko and his generation inherited 
was to a certain extent offset by the teaching of Max Weber, in whose class 
Rothko worked when he re-enrolled in the Art Students League upon his 
permanent return to New York. Although Rothko studied with Weber for 
only a short time, from October through December of 1925 and again from 
March through May of 1926, his influence on the young painter was 
considerable. It is obvious that Weber's sophisticated knowledge of paint- 
ing, his ardent admiration for Cezanne and his introduction of the more 
modern painters made a strong impression on his students. At an early stage 
of his career, Weber had rapidly absorbed the lessons of both Fauvism and 
Cubism. He had produced several superb Cubist paintings, foremost among 
them Chinese Restaurant of 1915 (fig. 5). Like the Cubists, Weber employed 
trompe l'oeil as an integral part of his work. The Cubists used these elements 
as decorative, additive accents, incorporating fragments of real or simulated 


materials into their collages in order to question the nature of illusion and 
reality. Weber, however, insisted upon painting literal facsimile versions of 
textures and patterns with an attention to detail that often took precedence 
over formal order. This characteristic directly relates Weber to such 
nineteenth-century American masters of trompe l'oeil as William M. Har- 
nett and John F. Peto. Later he adopted a form of Expressionism, derived 
from Soutine and Chagall, that he conveyed with enthusiasm to his students. 
Rothko's indebtedness to Weber's late style is readily apparent in both the 
choice of subjects and mood of his paintings of the 1920's. Less obvious but 
more meaningful is the imprint Weber's Cubist work was to leave on his later 
painting. Gethsemane and Primeval Landscape, both 1945 (cat. nos. 65, 66), 
for example, contain emblematic forms juxtaposed upon a flat backdrop in a 
manner that recalls Weber's combination of trompe l'oeil technique and 
collage-like images. Weber's spatial illusionism and play is, however, di- 
minished in Rothko's canvases. Rothko's paintings are more frontal and 
two-dimensional, perhaps because they are in part inspired by Hartley's very 
flat, heraldic paintings of military symbols of 19 14 (fig. 6). But the play has 
not altogether disappeared: remnants of the curiously shifting planes of 
Chinese Restaurant find their way into Rothko's spatially ambiguous works of 
the mid-1940's onward. 

During the late 1920's, Rothko supported himself by drawing maps for a 
book on popularized biblical history written by Lewis Browne, a retired rabbi 
from Portland who was a relative of Rothko's schoolmate, Harry Director. He 
moved to 231 East 25th Street and took a job in 1929 teaching children 
part-time at the Center Academy, Brooklyn Jewish Center, a position he 
retained until 1952. Teaching, in fact, was to be his primary means of 
supporting himself until he became financially successful as an artist. 

At the age of twenty-five, in 1928, Rothko was included in his first 
group exhibition at the Opportunity Galleries in New York. Bernard Karfiol 
chose several of his paintings for the show, together with works by Milton 
Avery, Louis Harris and others. His first one-man show in New York did not 
take place until 1933 at the Contemporary Arts Gallery. The review of the 
exhibition reads as follows: 

fig. 5 

Max Weber, Chinese Restaurant , 1915. 
Collection Whitney Museum ot American Art, 
New York 

fig. 6 

Marsden Hartley, Portrait of a German Officer, 
1914. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 
The Alfred Stieglitz Collection. 1949 

fig. 7 

Pablo Picasso, Two Nudes, late 1906. 
Collection The Museum of Modern Art, 
New York. Gift of G. David Thompson in 
Honor of Alfred H Barr, Jr. 

fig. 8 

Henri Matisse, The Blue Nude (Souvenir of 
Biskra). 1907 The Baltimore Museum of Art: 
Cone Collection 

fig 9 

Henri Matisse, Bathers with a Turtle. 1908 
Collection The St Louis Art Museum, Gift of 
Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Pulitzer, Jr 

Our Odyssey ends with the Contemporary Art Gallery. Always engaged in 
fresh and unusual projects . such as the "Painting of the Month" club 
which is achieving great success , this gallery's repeated presentations of new 
artists are very exhilarating. The newcomer is Maurice Rothkowitz. No 
aid from the catalog is necessary to inform us of his art education. The 
ponderous structure of the "Nude" harks back to the "Eight Figures" of 
Max Weber. In other works, here is the full-fledged influence of Cezanne. 
Pigment modeling apparent in "Man Smoking" is not confined to oil. since 
"Portland" in watercolor shows the same tendencies. Of the black and 
white, "Riverside Drive" appears to be the most outstanding sketch} ' 

In all probability, the canvas referred to is the bulky nude of 1930 (cat. no. 
10). While there is some evidence of Weber's influence on Rothko in the 
scumbled, heavily ladened brushwork of this painting, the apparent sources 
for the figure of the nude are Picasso's Two Nudes, late 1906, and Matisses 
such as The Blue Nude (Souvenir of Biskra), 1907, and Bathers with a Turtle, 
1908 (figs. 7-9). 

Many of Rothko's watercolors of the period refer specifically to Marin 


and through him to Cezanne. The triangular organization of a number of 
Rothko's paintings of this time recalls not only Cezanne but the art of the 
Renaissance, which the young artist very much admired. To be sure, the 
rational, harmonious order imposed by the classical device of the triangle is 
entirely at odds with Rothko's turbulent technique and expressionist color. 
Stylistic consistency was something he had yet to achieve. 

As Rothko's experience broadened, he seized upon subjects other than 
the typical classroom still lifes, landscapes and nudes. He began to depict 
street and waterfront views, bathers, horses, portraits, the theater, religious 
themes and domestic subjects such as music lessons and women sewing (cat. 
nos. 9,11, 12), in what seems to have been an attempt to make a diary of the 
world about him. He variously tried his hand at oils, watercolors and pen and 
ink or pencil drawings. His drawings and watercolors are extremely assured 
if not highly original. The oils are the most promising albeit least resolved 
work of these years. They are somber, ruggedly expressionist, heavily 
26 painted works in which figures with twisted heads alternate with contorted 

nudes and dark landscapes. Their brooding introspection and romantic 
feeling already reflect the sensibility that was to inform his dark paintings of 
the late 1950's and 1960's. 

It is difficult to trace the evolution of Rothko's style and themes with 
exactitude because, for many reasons, the dating of the period of the twenties 
through the mid-forties is problematic. For one, Rothko rarely dated his 
paintings at this time — only many years later, when he made an inventory of 
his work, did he do so, without records and relying entirely upon his 
memory. Thus, his Avery-like figures on a beach, which are presently dated 
about 1925-27, could conceivably have been painted after 1928, the year 
Rothko and Avery first exhibited together. And the subway paintings, some 
of which are currently assigned to 1930, might more sensibly, on the basis of 
stylistic evidence, be reattributed to the mid or late 1930's. The work cannot 
precisely be dated on the basis of its appearance in particular exhibitions, as 
Rothko seems to have included paintings executed over a number of years in 
each show, well into the 1940's. (The idea of conceiving paintings especially 
for an exhibition or of showing only recent work did not gain currency until 
much later.) Moreover, many canvases have more than one title, more than one 
date and were oriented in more than one direction. Further confusion in dating 
arises because Rothko's thinking was often in advance of his painting. As early 
as 1936, for example, while working on the subway paintings, he began to 
write in his notebooks on the meaning of myth: he did not, however, start to 
paint mythic subjects until 1938, when he started Antigone (cat. no. 23), nor 
did he publish his fully articulated position on such themes until 1943. In the 
same year Rothko painted Antigone, he continued to work in a realist vein and 
produced the definitive subway canvas, Subway Scene (cat. no. 22). In fact, he 
often continued to work in one style while experimenting with another, more 
advanced formulation. The way Rothko's work was characterized by critics 
also contributes to misconceptions about his style: during the 1930s, for 
example, he was known as an Expressionist, when his subway paintings, 
expressive as they are, have little in them that is Expressionist. 

Despite the strong effect Weber had on his work, Rothko was to 
maintain that he was largely self-taught and had "... learned painting from 
his contemporaries in their studios." 12 There was some truth in this asser- 
tion, for in the late 1920's, as a young artist just beginning to come into his 
own, he discovered that there were numerous alternatives to Weber's style. 

The single most viable alternative was presented by Avery. In all probability, 
Avery and Rothko met in 1928, when both showed at the Opportunity 
Galleries. Later, it seems that the violinist Louis Kaufman, who, like 
Rothko, came from Portland, brought the young artist to Avery's home. 
Their friendship was immediate. 

Rothko and a number of his colleagues looked to Avery for inspiration, 
even though he was only about ten years older than they. (Paradoxically, 
Avery did not arrive at his most successful statements until after Rothko 
developed his own mature style. Indeed, Rothko was an influence upon Avery 
by the early 1950's.) Avery's studio was open to many younger artists. His 
accessibility, his gentle manner, his willingness to engage in dialogue, were a 
refreshing change from the student-teacher relationships that artists of Roth- 
ko's generation had previously experienced. As Avery's wife, Sally, has re- 

[Rotbko] dropped in almost every day to see what Milton was painting. 27 

We spent summers together on Cape Ann where everyday we met at the beach 
for swimming and every evening we looked over the day's work. Adolph 
Gottlieb was there too and Barnett Newman joined us. Milton did a 
number of water colors using these friends as models. 

Among the portraits Avery painted of his young friends is a 1933 oil of 
Rothko (fig. 10). Rothko indicated Avery's importance in the moving 
eulogy he delivered upon his death in 1965: 

This conviction of greatness, the feeling that one was in the presence of great 
events, was immediate on encountering his work. It was true for many of us 
who were younger, questioning and looking for an anchor . . . . 

I cannot tell you what it meant for us during those early years to be made 
welcome in those memorable studios on Broadway, 12nd Street, and 
Columbus Avenue. We were, there, both the subjects of his paintings and 
his idolatrous audience. The walls were always covered with an endless 
and changing array of poetry and light. 

There have been several others in our generation who have celebrated the 
world around them, but none with that inevitability where the poetry 
penetrated every pore of the canvas to the very last touch of the brush. For 
Avery was a great poet-inventor who had invented sonorities never seen nor 
heard before. From these we have learned much and will learn more for a 
long time to come. 

But from these there have been fashioned great canvases, that far from the 
casual and transitory implications of the subjects, have always a gripping 
lyricism, and often achieve the permanence and 'monumentally of Egypt. 14 

Avery's pastoral subject matter was, to be sure, alien to Rothko's urban 
sensibility. Rothko did, however, paint some figures in interiors, domestic 
and seaside scenes in a manner reminiscent of Avery (cat. nos. 4, 7). It 
was not Avery's themes — which were typical thirties genre subjects — but 
his refreshing style that opened doors for Rothko. His precisely delineated, 
Matisse-derived flattened form and soft, lyrical color became integral parts of 


fig. 10 

Milton Avery, Portrait of Mark Rolbko, 1933. 
Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of 
Design, Providence, The Albert Pilavin 
Collection; 20th Century American Art 

Rothko's work and acted as antidotes to Weber's heavily painted, greyed 
hues and expressionistic manner. Avery's ability to minimize the numbers of 
shapes and colors he used and maximize their importance was of significance 
to younger artists like Rothko, as was the simplicity and directness of his 
figures. Avery was, in effect, the bridge between Matisse and Rothko. 
Rothko's Subway Scene, 1938 (cat. no. 22), reveals a number of parallels with 
Avery's work. Its scrubbed surface may be compared to Avery's painterly 
technique, and its figures are clearly derived from Avery's own forms. While 
there is an affinity between the stratified composition of Subway Scene and a 
canvas such as Avery's Coney Island, 1936 (fig. 1 1), Rothko's structure is 
much more overtly architectonic and geometric. Only rarely and in paintings 
closely modeled upon the older artist's did Rothko employ the diagonal 
compositions Avery favored as a means of reconciling the illusion of depth 
with the two-dimensional picture plane (fig. 12). It is notable that Rothko's 
mature preference for an inherently flat, frontal structure is already strik- 
ingly apparent in this painting. 

Equally noteworthy here is Rothko's use for the first time of a single 
specific theme in a group of works, for Subway Scene is one of a number of 
subway canvases (cat. nos. 16, 18, 20) he executed in the 1930's. While 
these subway paintings are perhaps not sufficiently unified to constitute a 
true series, they do attest to an effort on Rothko's part to clarify his ideas in a 
number of related works and thus prefigure his mature series, the Seagram, 
Harvard and Houston chapel murals. 

Rothko was attracted to the subject of the subway during the period of 
the WPA: its distinctly urban flavor and the opportunity it afforded to depict 
the dispirited masses dear to the artists of the Depression had obvious 
appeal at the time. It was a common enough theme during the thirties. A 
number of artists, Marsh, Bishop, Joseph Solman, Francis Criss among 
them, painted subway scenes in this era. Rothko, however, was the only one 
to endow the image with dignity, remoteness and a sense of dream-like 
suspension of motion, qualities more appropriate, perhaps, to the timeless 
formal order of Renaissance paintings than the contemporary, timely charac- 
ter of the subject. 

The subway paintings are chalky, executed in ". . . wan, whitened color 
like frescoes from Herculaneum. . . ," 15 Human form is attenuated until it 
almost ceases to exist; the bulky figures of the 1920's are pared down, as 
density is replaced by transparency. Formerly monolithic presences become 
shadowy, apparitional. Ghostly and unreal, these personages appear and 
disappear among the subway pillars. Even where several people are grouped 
together, there is a sense of silence, of distance and lack of communication 
that is extremely disorientating and recalls Edward Hopper or Giorgio de 
Chirico (figs. 13,14). Other paintings of the period are similarly 
disquieting — a nude seems hermetically sealed in a room with neither 
windows nor doors, an otherwise ordinary couple imbued with an impene- 
trable air of mystery or isolation confronts the viewer, a young boy is lost in 
contemplation (cat. nos. 13, 15, 21). In all instances, there is evidence of 
Rothko's need to compress space, if not flatten it. Whether or not Rothko's 
subways have symbolic meaning is open to conjecture, but certainly these 
paintings suggest a strange, nether region that re-emerges in his Surrealist- 
inspired subterranean fantasies of the mid-1940's. Although these far from 
fully resolved paintings are the efforts of a young artist struggling for clarity 
and identity, the otherworldly mood that infuses them is predictive of 


fig 11 

Milton Avery, Cone) Island. 1936. Private Collection 

fig. 12 

Milton Avery, Baby Avery, 1932. Collection Mrs. Milton 


fig. 13 

Edward Hopper, Early Sunday Morning, 1930. Collection 

Whitney Museum of American Art, New York 

fig. 14 

Giorgio de Chirico, The Nostalgia oj the Infinite. 1913—14 

Collection The Museum of Modern Art, New York 

Rothko's mature expression. This mood is the emanation of a fragile, 
precarious and sensitive state of mind that is perfectly evoked by Andre 
Breton's words: "This summer the roses are blue; the wood is made of glass. 
The earth wrapped in its foliage makes as little effect on me as a ghost. Living 
and ceasing to live are imaginary solutions — Existence is elsewhere." 16 
There is in these works an element of calm and a quality of palpable light. 
Later, of course, Rothko was to elevate these characteristics into transcen- 
dent spirituality. 

The 1930's was a period of denial and stagnation rather than affirmative 
personal expression or social progressivism. The government sought to sup- 
port art and artists during the Depression, but succeeded primarily in fostering 
provincial and conservative styles. There were two federal art programs ad- 
ministered by the Treasury Department in the early 1930's — the Public 
Works Art Project and the Section of Painting and Sculpture. Both organiza- 
tions favored the representational styles generally associated with American 
30 Scene painting or Regionalism. Painters could have fulfilled a vital and 

forward-looking social role, but neither they nor the federal government 
understood this at the time. The forces of bureaucracy and individualism in art 
were in conflict. Like all minor artists, the painters encouraged by the 
government did not reach out towards the new but were satisfied to concern 
themselves with what was already known. Their attitude and the government's 
policy did not, however, satisfy the expectations of a young, politically active, 
primarily immigrant group of artists, Rothko among them, as is evident from 
the political and artistic events that took place during the decade of the 
thirties. The more progressive and militant artists formed a number of 
organizations which agitated for the creation of art projects for the unemployed 
and protested the conservative bias of the government's existing programs. 

In 1934, one such group, the Artists' Union, was organized in New 
York, with local chapters elsewhere, to demand the establishment of new 
programs. Rothko was one of approximately two-hundred who participated 
in the inauguration of the Union. The Artists' Union did not confine itself to 
the problems of artists but was involved in different areas of labor as well; 
there was solidarity among the artists and other groups. As Solman has 
pointed out: 

At this time the Artists' Union and the National Maritime Union 
(NMU) were two of the most active participants in aiding striking picket 
lines anywhere in New York City. If the salesgirls went out on strike at 
May's department store in Brooklyn a grouping from the above-mentioned 
unions was bound to swell the picket line. I recall some of our own 
demonstrations to get artists back on the job after a number of pink 
dismissal slips had been given out. At such times everyone was in jeopardy . 
Suddenly from nowhere a truckload of NMU workers would appear and 
jump out onto the sidewalk to join our procession. Cheers welled up from all 
sides. Those were spirited times indeed. ' 7 

In August 1935, the Works Progress Administration, Federal Art 
Project (WPA/FAP) was formed with Holger Cahill as its director. It was the 
most extensive and most effective of all the New Deal art relief programs and 
engaged artists without bias in regard to style. Rothko, together with 
Harris, Solman, Jack Tworkov, Ad Reinhardt, William Baziotes and many 
others, was employed in the WPA's easel project. He was with the project 

from 1936 to 1937, earning $95.44 per month. Small as this stipend was, it 
was the chief support for many of the artists of Rothko's generation. 

Just as Rothko's rebellious nature had earlier drawn him to radical 
politics and an interest in trade unions, so now it led him to join the militant 
Artists' Union and, along with his fellow members, protest the economic 
and social conditions of the Depression, as well as the established order in 
both politics and art. However, it should be noted that, as the writer H. R. 
Hays, who was the artist's friend from 1935, has said, Rothko "had no 
objection to picketing for the immediate preservation of jobs but he strenu- 
ously opposed the injection of politics into art which he felt simply resulted 
in bad art." 18 The revolutionary attitudes that gave rise to these organiza- 
tions continued to exist even into the fifties, when Rothko, Gottlieb, 
Willem de Kooning, Jackson Pollock, Newman, Clyfford Still and others 
protested the Metropolitan Museum's prejudice against advanced art. 

In 1934, Rothko joined the newly established Gallery Secession in New 
York, but, in 1935, he and several other artists left it to form a group called 31 

The Ten. This circle rarely consisted of more than nine painters and was 
commonly referred to as "The Ten Who are Nine." It counted among its 
original members, besides Rothko, Gottlieb, Solman, Harris, Ben-Zion, Ilya 
Bolotowsky, Yankel Kufeld, Louis Schanker and Nahum Tschacbasov. Later 
additions were Lee Gatch, John Gtaham, Karl Knaths, Ralph Rosenborg and 
David Burliuk. They exhibited for five years, primarily at galleries in New 
York. Though The Ten was a group of independents with no declared program, 
the majority of its members painted representationally in a loose flat manner 
but were sympathetic to abstract art. Solman relates that at this time Rothko 
and Gottlieb "were both in the spontaneous expressionist or fauve tradi- 
tions." 19 The Ten were much opposed to the conservative styles then dominant 
and interested in such Europeans as Picasso, Matisse and Soutine as well as the 
Americans Avery and Albert Pinkham Ryder. In Solman's words: 

The modern concept of flat space, as in early Matisse, the 1922-26 
still-life period of Picasso and the German Briicke group was also a clear 
force in the work of most of The Ten. We all admired Picasso, Matisse, 
Rouault, Klee and the German expressionists , many of whose works we 
first became acquainted with at J . B. Neumann's New Art Circle and 
later at Paul Rosenberg's and of course at The Museum of Modern Art. 20 

The Ten were rebellious and progressive and in November 1938 they 
held an exhibition called Whitney Dissenters at the Mercury Galleries to 
protest the policies of the Whitney Museum of American Art. As Bernard 
Braddon of Mercury and Rothko wrote in the catalogue of the exhibition, 
"The title of this exhibition is designed to call attention to a significant 
section of art being produced in America. Its implications are intended to go 
beyond one museum and beyond one particular group of dissenters. It is a 
protest against the reputed equivalence of American painting and liberal 
painting. ..." They repudiated both buckeye American painting and obsolete 
European traditions, expressing their intention to "see objects and events as 
though for the first time, free from the accretions of habit and divorced from 
the conventions of a thousand years of painting." 21 

The Ten met monthly at each other's studios. Solman says that Rothko 
was an extremely articulate participant in their discussions. "In argument he 

was brighter than a lawyer and could almost wind out dialogues like a 
Talmudist." 22 The group broke up in 1940, primarily because it had 
outlived its usefulness, as most of the members were becoming more estab- 
lished and were now joining galleries on their own. The Ten parted company 
on friendly terms. 

fig. 15 

Mark Rothko, Crucifixion, before 1936. 

Whereabouts unknown 

fig. 16 

Mark Rothko, Woman Sewing, before 1936. 

Estate of Mark Rothko 


fig- 17 

Mark Rothko, Street Scene, before 193<: 

Estate of Mark Rothko 



n 1940, Rothko and Solman were given an unparalleled opporruniry to 
participate in a three-man exhibition with Marcel Gromaire at the 
Neumann-Willard Gallery in New York. Both Rothko and Solman were 
delighted with the offer to exhibit on equal terms with a noted French 
painter. Although Rothko's work did not receive much critical attention 
prior to his one-man show at Peggy Guggenheim's Art of This Century in 
New York in 1945, a discerning review of the Neumann-Willard exhibition 
appeared : 

Beside his depth of color, the light and singing hues of Mark Rothko's 
palette seem like a soprano part . Entrance to Subway , with its introduc- 
tion of a green railing lightens a scene usually seen in its gloomy aspects, 
and the peace and quiet of Contemplation is arrived at because of the 
artist's translation of a mood to canvas. This artist has taught children for 
many years, and one feels that they in turn have helped to make him see and 
feel with their own simplicity and instinct for truth. The Party condenses 
the gaiety and high spirits of a children's celebration into a design of real 
structural beauty. 23 

It is striking that the writer has noted the importance of both structural form 
and mood, the appearance of lyrical color and the coexistence of feelings of 
gaiety and contemplation, and thus has perceived salient features of Rothko's 
mature style in these paintings of the late thirties. 

This three-man exhibition notwithstanding, Mark Rothko was virtu- 
ally unknown as a painter at the outbreak of World War II. He had sold 
". . .very few paintings, mostly to friends and other artists." 24 He and his 
first wife, Edith, whom he had married in 1932, lived on meager earnings 
from her jewelry designs and his teaching. Their apartment at 313 East 6th 
Street was both his studio and her shop. Despite Rothko's straitened cir- 
cumstances, the late thirties and early forties were years of tremendous 
significance for his career, an era in which his thinking and his style 
underwent a dramatic evolution. 

In Rothko's works of the thirties such as Crucifixion, Woman Sewing, 
Street Scene (figs. 15-17) and the subway paintings there is tension, doubt and 
striving, a confrontation between the subjects and the demands of the 
architectonic structuring of the compositions. This conflict is most fully 
resolved in the Subway Scene of 1938, but here, as in the earlier canvases, 


Rothko still clings to figuration, unwilling as yet to express the theoretical 
positions he had already begun to crystallize in his notes. The intellectual 
struggle in which he was now engaged was ultimately to take him from these 
relatively conventional paintings to his infinitely more sophisticated style of 
the mid and late forties. As his former wife notes: 

His work changed dramatically in the early 40' s. He and a group of 
painters were much concerned about subject matter and these people met at 
our homes. . . . These meetings involved philosophical discussion . . . there 
were about four or five artists — Gottlieb, Newman, Bolotowsky and 
Tschacbasov. 25 

A spirit of camaraderie developed among painters during this period, 
fostered to a large extent by their participation in the WPA. The easel and 
mural painting projects brought together people of very different 
34 backgrounds and temperaments who might otherwise never have become 

friends. Most of the artists whom Rothko knew around this time — Gottlieb, 
de Kooning, Pollock, Gorky, Newman, David Smith — were, like him, at 
unresolved stages in their development. Their limited resources, their need for 
community, their desire for change, led to friendship. They exhibited to- 
gether, went to shows together, drank together, shared studios, fought with 
each other, picketed, protested and struggled for greatness. They admired the 
work of Miro and Klee well before these artists were accepted in Paris, went to 
see early Kandinsky at the Museum of Non-Objective Painting and were 
especially impressed with the Picassos reproduced in Cahiers d'Art. And they 
became intensely aware of the Surrealist movement, which was gaining 
increasing exposure in the United States in the thirties. 

As early as 1931, the first important exhibition of Surrealism in the 
United States, Newer Super-Realism, had been staged by Arthur Everett 
Austin at the Wadsworth Atheneum in Hartford. This show traveled to the 
Julien Levy Gallery in New York the following year. Levy proselytized for 
the movement, showing Surrealist painters throughout the thirties and 
publishing an important anthology, Surrealism, in 1936. This same year, 
Alfred Barr presented the crucial Fantastic Art, Dada, Surrealism at The 
Museum of Modern Art. 

None of their past experience, none of the one-man or group exhibi- 
tions they saw had prepared them for the revolution in aesthetics to which 
they now found themselves exposed. These young painters, who formed the 
core of the New York School and were later to be identified as Abstract 
Expressionists, now became conscious that American painting of the 1930s, 
whether the routine academicism of the regional scene painters or the Neo- 
Plasticist dogma of the American Abstract Artists, a group of adherents of 
geometric abstraction which had been established in New York in 1936, was 
extremely limited. Most of this pioneer generation of Abstract Expressionists 
had painted representationally during the Depression years, often under the 
auspices of the WPA. It was thus in a spirit of rebellion, against their own early 
efforts as well as the prevailing American art, that they began the search for a 
new means of expression. The arrival in New York of many major contempor- 
ary European painters at the time of World War II was the catalyst for their 
revolt. The Surrealists — Max Ernst, Yves Tanguy, Matta, Andre Masson and 
the poet laureate of the movement, Andre Breton — came en masse. Marcel 
Duchamp, of course, was already active here; Piet Mondrian, too, lived and 

worked in New York during the War, as did Fernand Leger, who had already 
spent time in America. These expatriates brought with them an enormous 
vitality, a wealth of new ideas and a sense of the entire history of European 

A new awareness of European innovation on the part of Americans is 
indicated in the press release that accompanied the Third Annual Exhibition of 
the Federation of Modern Painters and Sculptors of June 1943, a show in which 
Rothko participated. The release reads in part: 

At our inception three years ago we stated, "We condemn artistic 
nationalism , which negates the world tradition of art at the base of modern 
art movements. " 

Today America is faced with the responsibility either to salvage and 
develop, or to frustrate Western creative capacity. This responsibility may 
be largely ours for a good part of the century to come. This country has been 
greatly enriched, both by the recent influx of many great European artists, 
some of whom we are proud to have as members of the Federation , and by the 
growing vitality of our native talent. 

In years to come the world will ask how this nation met its opportunity. 
Did it nourish or starve this concentration of talent? 

Since no one can remain untouched by the impact of the present world 
upheaval, it is inevitable that values in every field of human endeavor will 
be affected. As a nation we are being forced to outgrow our narrow political 
isolationism. Now that America is recognized as the center where art and 
artists of all the world meet, it is time for us to accept cultural values on a 
truly global plane. 

Of all the artists in exile in New York, the Surrealists were the most 
influential. Personal contact with the Surrealists, although limited, pro- 
vided the Americans direct access to their work and assured the fledgling 
painters that the legendary Europeans were, after all, human. For all of 
them, it was an exhilarating time, a moment in history that gave them the 
freedom and challenge they needed to cut the cord that tied them to a 
provincial American art. From this alliance with European art and thought 
they created, in a monumental effort, a brilliant new American art. 

Surrealism had been born in Paris in 1924, out of the ashes of Dada. 
According to the Surrealists, the function of the poet or artist was to select 
appropriate symbols, which corresponded in their power and magic to the 
myths, parables and metaphors of the past. These symbols stimulated or 
irritated the senses to arouse multiple associations and emotions, differing 
according to the sensibility of each viewer. Surrealism, like its parent, Dada, 
was antirational in character. The Surrealists developed an art in which the 
formal and rational order of Cubism was replaced by the fantastic, the 
accidental, the illogical. The unconscious was proclaimed as the essential 
source of art; the inner universe of the imagination, rather than the external 
world, became the wellspring of all inspiration. However, the Surrealists 
were not opposed to the reality of the external world as such, but only to 
reason and logic. In fact, they proposed that elements from the external 
world be retained in their work — but that they be unified with the dream to 
form one reality, "surreality." 

In the researches of Freud and his exploration of the subconscious, the 



f'g. 18 

Andre Masson, Battle of Fishes, 1926. 
Collection The Museum of Modern Art, 
New York 

fig- 19 

Max Ernst, Blue and Pink Dotes, 1926. 

Collection Kunstmuseum Dusseldorf 

fig. 20 

Max Ernst, The Horde, 1927. Collection 

Stedeli|k Museum, Amsterdam 

fig. 21 

Max Ernst, The Bewildered Planet, 1942. 
Collection The Tel Aviv Museum, Gift 
of the artist 

fig. 22 

Jackson Pollock, Autumn Rhythm, 1950. The 
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 
George A. Hearn Fund, 1957 

Surrealists found some ideal tools for their own experiments. The Surrealists 
differed with Freud in their acceptance of dream images as significant 
realities in themselves, rather than as mere symbols of conscious life. His 
observations on the role of language in dream and dream interpretation were 
applied to their own ends. They found Freud's explorations of the mind and 
the investigations of dream imagery inspiration for their own experiments, 
and out of his theories they developed the technique of automatism, which 
they applied to both poetry and painting. In 1924, Breton first described 
Surrealism as "Pure psychic automatism, by which it is intended to express, 
verbally, in writing or by other means, the real process of thought. 
Thought's dictation, in the absence of all control exercised by reason and 
outside all esthetic and moral preoccupations." 26 The purpose of au- 
tomatism was to free art of conscious control, and to liberate the imagina- 
tion. Although much of Surrealism's imagery found its way into American 
painting in the 1940's, it was the technique of automatism that was of most 
crucial importance to the development of a revolutionary art in New York. 

Ernst was an enigmatic and elusive figure who stayed in New York only 
briefly. But his charismatic personality, his reputation as a founder of both 
Dada and Surrealism, his marriage to Peggy Guggenheim and his link to her 
gallery, Art of This Century, attracted the attention of the impressionable 
Americans. He and Masson were among the most influential of the Surrealist 
emigres. Both practiced a form of automatism characterized by all-over 
meandering lines and experimented with a number of unusual materials 
which in themselves suggested images. In Masson's Battle of Fishes, 1926 
(fig. 18), and Ernst's Blue and Pink Doves, 1926, or The Horde, 1927 (figs. 19, 
20), for example, images arise from the chance procedures employed. In 
1942, when he was already in the United States, Ernst began two paintings 
in which he employed a drip technique, Young Man Intrigued by the Flight of a 
Non-Euclidean Fly and The Bewildered Planet (fig. 21). A comparison among 


these Surrealist works and later paintings by Abstract Expressionists, such as 
Pollock's Autumn Rhythm, 1950 (fig. .22), reveals clear similarities. Ernst, of 
course, did not invent the drip technique, and Pollock's work was not 
necessarily based directly upon his example, but more probably upon the 
graceful arabesques of Masson's imagery. In any case, the inspirational force of 
the Surrealists upon the emergent New York School at this time is undeniable. 

Ernst was important to artists like Pollock and Rothko, not only for his 
revolutionary procedures, but for his totemic figuration and relentless de- 
velopment of a series of related images. His example of stylistic consistency 
was extremely significant for the embryonic Abstract Expressionists. And 
Ernst had another, equally vital message for Rothko and his contemporaries: 
he reinforced the young painters' belief in the power of myth and the art of the 
primitive. Rothko's profound interest in archaic cultures, in the art of the 
Aegean and ancient Near East, had originated in the thirties. He was con- 
vinced that myth could be a source and inspiration, not for a literary style of 
painting as might be expected, but for abstraction. And, although Rothko was 
in no sense a literary painter, poetry and philosophy were among the funda- 
mental sources of his thinking. Books such as Nietzsche's Birth of Tragedy both 
stimulated and reinforced his interest in myth while he was still painting 
figurative and socially-conscious canvases. 

The form and mythic content of archaic art appeared in Rothko's work 
as early as 1938, when, as we have seen, he started Antigone. By 194 1 he and 
Gottlieb were working closely together to develop and define an art based 
upon myth. Rothko's close friendship with Gottlieb had begun in the late 
1920's. The two held a number of interests and attitudes in common. Both 
loved primitive art — Gottlieb collected, but Rothko did not, probably 
because he preferred not to acquire objects. Gottlieb, like Rothko, was active 
as an organizer of or participant in radical artists' groups. And each was 
intensely concerned with myth. For over a decade, from the mid-thirties to 
the mid-forties, they shared many aesthetic goals; the painting of each artist 
changed from a form of relatively realistic representation common to the 

fig. 24 

Adolph Gottlieb, Eyes of Oedipus, 1941. 

Collection Mrs. Adolph Gottlieb, New Yoi 

*; I 


fig. 23 

Adolph Gottlieb, Sundeck, 1936. Collection 

University of Maryland Art Gallery, College 



thirties to a fully'developed new language of archetypes. This often laborious 
evolution is reflected in the transition from paintings such as Rothko's 
Subway Scene of 1938 and Gottlieb's Sundeck of 1936 (fig. 23) to Rothko's 
Antigone and The Omen of the Eagle , 1942 (cat. no. 26), and Gottlieb's Eyes 
of Oedipus, 1941, or Pictograph, 1942 (figs. 24, 25). 

Gottlieb's wife, Esther, has commented that both Rothko and her 
husband were extremely programmatic about their artistic direction and 
deliberately chose to concern themselves with myth so that they could break 
with what they considered stagnant in European tradition and with the 
provincial American past. Their ideas were reinforced by other artists like 
Gorky, Newman, Pollock and Still, who were also experimenting with myth 
at around this time. John Graham, whose System and Dialectics of Art was 
published in 1937, stated: 

The purpose of art in particular is to re-establish a lost contact with the 
unconscious . . . with the primordial racial past and to keep and develop 
this contact in order to bring to the conscious mind the throbbing events of 
the unconscious mind. 27 


Rothko and Gottlieb articulated their positions on art and myth in a 
now- famous letter of June 7, 1943, written, with the then unacknowledged 
assistance of Barnett Newman, to The New York Times critic Edward Alden 
Jewell. It was written in response to Jewell's largely negative review of the 
third annual Federation of Modern Painters and Sculptors exhibition, re- 
ferred to above. Published in the Times of June 13, it reads in part: 

. 25 

lolph Gottlieb, Pictograph, 1942. Collection 

lolph and Esther Gottlieb Foundation, Inc. 

1 . To us art is an adventure into an unknown world, which can be 
explored only by those willing to take the risks. 

2. This world of the imagination is fancy-free and violently opposed to 
common sense. 

3 . It is our function as artists to make the spectator see the world our 
way — not his way. 

4. We favor the simple expression of the complex thought. We are for the 
large shape because it has the impact of the unequivocal . We wish to 
reassert the picture plane. We are for flat forms because they destroy 
illusion and reveal truth. 

5 . It is a widely accepted notion among painters that it does not matter 
what one paints as long as it is well painted. This is the essence of 
academicism. There is no such thing as good painting about nothing. 
We assert that the subject is crucial and only that subject matter is 
valid which is tragic and timeless. That is why we profess spiritual 
kinship with primitive and archaic art. 

Rothko and Gottlieb specifically referred to two of their paintings that had 
been included in the Federation annual, explaining Gottlieb's Rape of Perse- 
phone, 1943 (fig- 26), was "a poetic expression of the essence of the myth," 
and Rothko's The Syrian Bull, 1943 (cat. no. 28), was "a new interpretation 
of an archaic image. . . ." and that "significant rendition of a symbol, no 
matter how archaic, has as full validity today as the archaic symbol had 

then." 28 

From 1941 until 1943, Rothko's paintings are stratified in composi- 
tion, sometimes divided into sharply differentiated registers. Images are 
disposed in an orderly, geometric manner and at times are segregated into 
zones. Bird and animal forms, zigzags, disembodied facial features, anatom- 
ical parts, imagery drawn from archaic sculpture and from architectural 
motifs appear. Paintings such as The Omen of the Eagle, 1942 , point directly to 
the art of Nineveh and Mesopotamia. Rothko fills his zones or registers with 
the part-men, part-beasts, part-gods of ancient legend. The ghostly figures 
of the subway paintings have taken on the relief-like qualities of Near Eastern 
friezes. The architectonic structure of these canvases derives from his own 
work of the thirties, but here it is clarified, compartmentalized and under- 
scored by the registers, reinforced by the fragmented forms that fill each 
zone. Rothko wrote of The Omen of the Eagle as follows: 

40 The theme here is derived from the Agamemnon Trilogy of Aeschylus. The 

picture deals not with the particular anecdote, but rather with the Spirit of 
Myth, which is generic to all myths at all times. It involves a pantheism in 
which man, bird, beast and tree — the known as well as the knowable — 
merge into a single tragic idea. 29 

Although Rothko's symbol-laden imagery of the early 1940's was often 
ponderous, it is sometimes lightened by an element of surprise that derives 
from Surrealist automatism and exploration of chance. In addition, the 
seemingly random composition of paintings such as Untitled, 1939-40 (cat. 
no. 24), in which disparate kinds of images are incorporated in each register, 
may have been inspired by the Surrealists' Cadavres Exquises (exquisite 
corpses). These Cadavres Exquises were collaborative drawings, usually pro- 
duced by three or four artists, each contributing a different kind of image to 
his separate zone of paper. The heavy symbolism and sculptural forms of the 
canvases of the period are mitigated also by Rothko's predominantly pastel 
palette and flat application of color, which continue to reflect Avery's 
sun-drenched hues. 

Rothko's use of the eagle in his paintings of the period, such as The Omen 
of the Eagle, was probably inspired by Ernst's in part humorous and ironic 
identification of himself with the bird, Loplop. The specific symbolism of 
Ernst's birds as representations of power (the eagle is the national emblem of 
both Germany and the United States), of the intellect and freedom of the 
mind may also have influenced Rothko's choice of imagery. Jung, whom 
Rothko was very much interested in, points out that the totem of the bird is 
much used by artists to symbolize transcendence, release, liberation. But the 
painting derives from other sources as well, including motifs from his own 
earlier interiors. Solman mentions, in addition, that Rothko incorporated 
elements from the cornices of buildings and windows in his work at 
this time. 30 Indeed, there seem to be many echoes of thirties ornamentation in 
these paintings. It may also be that the structure of New York buildings rein- 
forced Rothko's decision to divide many of his compositions into registers. 
Furthermore, the zones as well as the eyes, beaks, claws and wings clearly 
refer to Northwest Coast Indian art . 

Although there is a close kinship among concepts and paintings of 
Rothko and Gottlieb, there are profound differences which are clear even in 
their relatively unresolved work of the 1930's. Despite important shared 

goals, sensibility and intent separate Rothko and Gottlieb. Painting 
presented a philosophical dilemma to Rothko, as he came increasingly to 
question its terms and meaning. Gottlieb remained more concerned with the 
hedonistic qualities of his painting and decoration of surface than with 
problems of underlying significance. 

The questioning and conflict that characterize Rothko's work of the late 
thirties are absent from Gottlieb's oeuvre , except in rare paintings such as 
Still Life — Dry Cactus, ca.. 1938 (fig. 27), painted while he was living in the 
desert near Tucson. This canvas is atypical in that it is infused with a mood of 
enigma and foreboding arising from the attenuated shadows which seem to 
entrap theplant forms, and a sense of disorientation resulting from the presen- 
tation of a landscape as a still life and the endowing of plant forms with 
qualities of animal life. The Tanguy- or Dali-like forms that snake across the 
picture are flattened and quite abstract; they are, nevertheless, based on 
observed natural phenomena as well as on Surrealist prototypes. 

Significantly, Gottlieb has chosen a title that might describe a 41 

naturalistic desert scene for his Surreal configurations. An artist like Dali 
would have given his painting a name that enhanced the mystery of its 
images, a title such as Enigma of a Day, for example. Gottlieb's choice of a 
descriptive title underscores his interest in both the natural and super- 
natural. This dichotomy is even more apparent in his later painting, The Sea 
Chest, 1942 (fig. 28). Despite the seemingly straightforward and more 
naturalistic presentation of specimens of marine life there is a pervasive, 
sinister, threatening spirit. However, the Gloucester, Massachusetts, coast 
inspired this canvas, just as the arid desert landscape had been the source of 
Still Life— Dry Cactus. Gottlieb was at this time, and remained, a naturalistic 
painter: his late, abstract burst canvases retain the sense of physical forces and 
phenomena. Gottlieb's basically Impressionist temperament did not allow 
him to pursue his experiments with myth as relentlessly as Rothko did into 
the forties. He continued to be interested in the external world; Rothko by 
the forties was already primarily concerned with inner states of existence. 

Whereas Rothko sometimes segregated his images of this period into 
registers or zones, Gottlieb much more systematically compartmentalized 
his paintings, which he called pictographs, by drawing rather free-form 
grids across his surfaces. In each section of this grid he placed, seemingly at 
random, an image isolated to enhance its emotive powers, adding shape after 
shape until he was satisfied his painting had achieved its final form. Some of 
his images — eyes, faces, teeth, genitalia or other parts of the human 
anatomy — are the residual data of his earlier interest in the human figure. 
They are part of a repertory of image-symbols — others include snakes, birds, 
masks, eggs — that he discovered in past art forms which appeared to him to 
have a universal significance or, in Jungian terms, to form part of a "collec- 
tive unconscious." Gottlieb continued to produce pictographs, however, as 
abstract forms devoid of mythic content, into the mid-1950's. 

But myths as interpreted by Rothko, Gottlieb and other Americans in 
the forties did not convey universal meaning; the Americans failed to express 
through myth the truths of the collective unconscious or the brutalities of their 
own time. The master Picasso, alone among twentieth-century artists, was able 
to make mythology profoundly relevant in his monumental Guernica, 1937 
(fig. 29). Here he draws upon both Surrealist and mythological prototypes, 
but endows them with genuinely modern form and content. Guernica is at 
once shocking in its contemporaneity and timeless in its references to the past 

and thus stands not only for the Spanish Civil War but for all war. Past and 
present have been dramatically synthesized on a level of epic grandeur. 

Picasso's achievement was unparalleled, however, and artists like 
Rothko and Gottlieb were unable to endow their paintings with the rele- 
vance they insisted was inherent in myth. Removed from their original 
culture, the symbols lose their context, the connective tissue which is crucial 
to their meaning and use; they become abstract signs without significant 
mythic content. Their entirely intellectual and programmatic approach was 


fig. 26 

Adolph Gottlieb, Rape of Persephone, 1943. 
Collection Mrs. Barnett Newman 

fig. 27 

Adolph Gottlieb, Still Lije — Dry Cactus. 
ca 1938. Collection Adolph and Esther 
Gottlieb Foundation, Inc. 

fig 28 

Adolph Gottlieb, The Sea Chest, 1942. 
Collection The Solomon R Guggenheim 
Museum, New York 

fundamentally different from Picasso's deeply felt synthesis of emotion and 
intellect. Nevettheless, Rothko and Gottlieb sought to make myth the 
centtal focus of a new aft fotm in theit attempt to assett theit linkage with 
European tradition as well as the coming of age and, finally, the ptimacy of 
American art. Their search for the "timeless" in art was in part a search for a 
new vocabulary. This new vocabulary was rooted in, but ultimately inde- 
pendent of, Surrealism, from which it drew its main inspiration. That the 
archaism of the art of the ancient Near East had little direct bearing on the 
search for the new did not seem to disturb Rothko at this time. Avant-garde 
painters working in New York in the forties were presented with an enorm- 
ous range of possibilities and, in keeping with the catholic attitudes of 
twentieth-century artists, were able to use the primitive to break with the 
past. There was, however, a very real contradiction between what these 
artists saw as a "spiritual kinship" with primitive and archaic art and the 
new, as well as a conflict with what they achieved in their mature painting. 
The Surrealists had combined ancient myth and Freudian symbolism, 
thus justifying their imagery in literary and scientific tetms. For Rothko and 
his colleagues such subject matter was ultimately inhibiting. They drew 
upon it in an interim period, creating paintings that were poetic in their 
metaphors and transitional in form, as they progressed towards a new art. 
The Surrealists sought archetypal images to represent the highly charged 
world of their subconscious minds. But the future Abstract Expressionists 
developed a vocabulary of signs, not to symbolize the super-reality of the real 
world merged with dreams and the unconscious but to express the teality of 
a revolutionary abstract art. They released themselves from the past when they 
abandoned their commitment to the primitive and the literary and consecrated 
themselves to the realm of pure painting. 


fig. 29 

Pablo Picasso, Guernica, 1937. On extended 
loan to The Museum of Modern Art, 
New York, from the artist's estate 

^ P J§ i 


tMut ' '' 

id. kmwr^W. k "" ¥1 

91 H ^^^^m Mm 

r 1- Li 



m\ \~H 

■ " H M 

-■^l f 


¥ m 1 

' gg 



— ' j 

' i -£ 

mm T* 


jT BM i 




Bj^"-- ■/ 


BL/ ~-wL 



m ml 

WUkm. ^ II\iJ 


44 J. he last years of World War II were a time of great activity for Rothko and 

his colleagues. In 1944, Gottlieb was elected head of the Federation of 
Modern Painters and Sculptors, a position he retained until 1945. In 
December df 1944, the 67 Gallery, which Howard Putzel had opened in 
New York that fall, mounted an exhibition of Forty American Moderns, in 
which Rothko participated, showing an untitled Surrealist drawing. Putzel, 
Peggy Guggenheim's assistant from 1942-44, had advised her to represent 
Rothko, and in January of 1945 she gave him a one-man show at her gallery. 
Art of This Century. The catalogue preface reads: 

Rothko 's painting is not easily classified. It occupies a middle ground 
between abstraction and surrealism. In these paintings the abstract idea is 
incarnated in the image. Rothko 's style has a latent archaic quality which 
the pale and uninsistent colours enforce. This particular archaization. the 
reverse of the primitive, suggests the long savouring of human and tradi- 
tional experience as incorporated in the myth. Rothko 's symbols, fragments 
of myth, are held together by a free, almost automatic calligraphy that 
gives a peculiar unity to his paintings — a unity in which the individual 
symbol acquires its meaning, not in isolation, but rather in its melodic 
adjustment to the other elements in the picture. It is this feeling of internal 
fusion, of the historical conscious and subconscious capable of expanding 
far beyond the limits of the picture space that gives Rothko s work its force 
and essential character. But this is not to say that the images created by 
Rothko are the thin evocations of the speculative intellect; they are rather 
the concrete, the tactual expression of the intuitions of an artist to whom the 
subconscious represents not the farther, but the nearer shore of art. 31 

Among the fifteen paintings in this exhibition were Sacrifice of Iphigenia. 
1942 , The Syrian Bull, 1943 , Birth of Cephalopods , Slow Swirl at the Edge of the 
Sea and Poised Elements, all of 1944 (cat. nos. 29,28, 37,63, 3 1). The titles of 
these works clearly indicate that Rothko's concern with myth and ritual, 
prehistoric forces, biological life in general, marine organisms in particular, 
was still very strong at this time. 

There is, however, no consistent relationship between Rothko's titles 
and his imagery. Thus, the forms in paintings as variously named as Slow 
Swirl at the Edge of the Sea, Birth of Cephalopods and Tiresias are extremely 
similar to one another. Poised Elements, on the other hand, is much more 

structured; its geometrically disposed forms seem to be derived from late 
Kandinsky and have little to do with the liquid grace and curvilinear shapes 
of the three other canvases, in which natural phenomena, mythic content, 
Surrealist automatic technique and subconscious imagery are successfully 
synthesized. The Ernst-like Hierarchical Birds (fig. 30) represents yet another 
direction Rothko was now exploring. In fact, he was still absorbing a 
multitude of influences — he himself said that Dali, de Chirico, Miro and 
Ernst attracted him at this time. Thus, Entombment I, 1946 (cat. no. 42), 
recalls Picasso's studies for Crucifixion, 1927 (for example, fig. 31), many 
gouaches resemble Ernst's Shell Flowers, 1929 (fig- 32), and others bring to 
mind the work of his contemporaries, such as Motherwell's Indians, 1944 
(fig. 33). Therefore, it is incorrect to classify, as many critics have done, this 
phase of his oeuvre as biomorphic — although his best work of the period may 
be so categorized. 

Just as the Subway Scene of 1938 represents the climax of Rothko's first 
mature work of the thirties, so Slow Swirl at the Edge of the Sea, Birth of 45 

Cephalopods and Rites of Lilith, 1945 (cat. no. 39), are the culmination of 
Rothko's search for the "middle ground between surrealism and abstrac- 
tion." In these and related paintings of the mid-forties, Rothko creates a 
series of ritualistic or totemic images which vaguely suggest human figures, 
birds, animals, aquatic life. The animation of twirling or revolving forms, 
sensitivity to nuance of color, shape and detail and careful balance of large 
and small areas in these lyrical works are unexcelled. Rothko now achieves a 
synthesis of form, line and color which rivals that of the best Surrealist 
painting of the period. 

Slow Swirl at the Edge of the Sea was painted during the artist's courtship 
of his second wife, Mary Alice Beistle (Mell), and thus had special meaning 
for him — it may, in fact, be a symbolic portrait of the couple. (Although it 
at one time belonged to the San Francisco Museum of Art it was traded back 
to Rothko in 1961 and remained in his home until his wife's death in 1970.) 

The paintings of 1944-45 reveal that by now Rothko had begun to 
make important advances in a new direction. He starts now to enlarge his 
paintings — Slow Swirl at the Edge of the Sea is 75 by SAV2 inches and Rites of 
Lilith, 84 by 108 inches. A comparison between SlowSwirl and the earlier The 
Omen of the Eagle (cat. no. 26) is illuminating and shows the extent to which 
Rothko's style had by now evolved. The forms of The Omen of the Eagle are 
divided into four clearly defined registers; the later work, however, contains 
semitransparent images that appear to float and merge with the soft, translu- 
cent ground like aquatic organisms in a liquid medium. Rothko has 
banished the bulging, bulky figures of The Omen of the Eagle, throwbacks to 
his expressionist work of the twenties and thirties, and employed instead 
weightless forms and a soft, light palette reminiscent of the subway paint- 
ings of the thirties. 

Rothko's interest in myth lessened as the abstract possibilities inherent 
in Surrealism increasingly intrigued him. The Miro- and Masson-influenced 
Slow Swirl at the Edge of the Sea and Rites of Lilith are gracefully calligraphic, 
more markedly linear than the paintings that preceded them. Like Gorky, 
who was working in a similar direction at this time, as revealed in his The 
Liver is the Cock's Comb, \9AA (fig. 34), Rothko cultivated anthropomorphic 
forms within a generally diffused field. But Rothko, unlike Gorky, or for 
that matter, most of the Surrealists, uses little sexual imagery. The two 
painters undoubtedly were drawing upon common sources, but did not 



fig. 30 

Mark Rothko, Hierarchical Birds, before 1945. 
Estate of Mark Rothko 

fig- 31 

Pablo Picasso, Study for Crucifixion, 1927. 

Whereabouts unknown 

fig. 32 

Max Ernst, Shell Flowers. 1929. Collection 

Museum Ludwig, Cologne 

fig. 33 

Robert Motherwell, Indians. 1944. 

Whereabouts unknown 

fig- 34 

Arshile Gorky, The Liver is the Cock's Comb, 
1944. Collection Albright-Knox Art Gallery, 
Buffalo, New York, Gift of Seymour H. Knox 


markedly influence one another. In most of his canvases of 1944 to 1946 
Rothko uses an all-over ground, usually of a pale creamy color with a few 
bright accents. His images are generally flat and without real physical 
presence. Only rarely, as in the very Gorky-like Aquatic Drama, 1946 (cat. 
no. 59), do these shapes become overtly organic or three-dimensional. Nor is 
there any concession to the deep illusionistic space of Matta and Tanguy. 

Rothko wished to establish light as an integral part of his painting. His 
use of oils, however, tended to dim the luminosity he sought, even in the 
otherwise masterful Slow Swirl. So disposed was he to effects of luminosity 
that he began to prefer watercolor and gouache to oil paints. And, in works of 
1945 to 1947, such as Entombment I and Entombment II, both 1946 (cat. nos. 
42, 43), Rothko returned to the smaller scale of his paintings prior to the 
1940's and restricted his color range to the greys and earth colors typical of 
his canvases of the early forties. No doubt he found it easier to concentrate on 
developing effects of luminosity and loosening his imagery when working 
48 with this restricted scale and palette. The luminosity, flatness, frontality and 

close-value colors ascribed to the period of Rothko's great breakthrough in 
1949-50 are already characteristic of these watercolors and pastels of the 
mid-1940's. Many of them are among his most beautiful works. Contrary to 
the opinion of some critics, who maintain that Rothko could not draw, and 
even of the artist himself, the calligraphy of this period is brilliant. Now, 
perhaps for the first time, he allows a Miroesque element of play, if not 
humor, to enter his heretofore solemn, even stern paintings. There is about 
them a decided air of confidence, accomplishment and quiet pleasure. Their 
forms, almost liberated from myth and referential imagery, border as never 
before on the totally abstract and are brought into perfect harmony with the 
formal requirements of the picture plane. Although Rothko's imagery of this 
period has often been characterized as aquatic, it is too ambiguous and 
complicated to be so defined. His forms are far less explicit than those of 
Baziotes, who, also influenced by Miro, truly did invent a vocabulary of 
aquatic, biomorphic imagery (fig. 35). Rothko's foreground and background 
are in a state of flux; nevertheless, the picture plane remains stable and 
constant. Rothko asserted this stability as well as the flatness of the picture 
plane by working with strictly horizontal-vertical axes, crossing his vertical 
canvases with horizontal bands upon which he placed vertically oriented 

In these watercolors, Rothko no longer allows concern with symbolic 
meaning to stand in the way of abstract considerations, but he does not 
entirely renounce his fealty to myth or representational imagery. Rothko had 
now only to eliminate the last barrier, the vestiges of figuration that 
remained in his work, to create a revolutionary new art form. He was, 
however, not yet prepared to take this final step. As he said in 1945: 

/ adhere to the material reality of the world and the substance of things. I 
merely enlarge the extent of this reality, extending to it coequal attributes 
with experiences in our more familiar environment . I insist upon the equal 
existence of the world engendered in the mind and the world engendered by 
God outside of it. If I have faltered in the use of familiar objects, it is 
because I refuse to mutilate their appearance for the sake of an action which 
they are too old to serve; or for which, perhaps, they had never been 

I quarrel with surrealist and abstract art only as one quarrels with his 

father and mother; recognizing the inevitability and function of my roots, 
but insistent upon my dissension: I, being both they, and an integral 
completely independent of them. 

The surrealist has uncovered the glossary of the myth and has established a 
congruity between the phantasmagoria of the unconscious and the objects of 
everyday life. This congruity constitutes the exhilarated tragic experience 
which for me is the only source book for art. But I love both the object and 
the dream far too much to have them effervesced into the insubstantiality of 
memory and hallucination. The abstract artist has given material exis- 
tence to many unseen worlds and tempi. But I repudiate his denial of the 
anecdote just as I repudiate the denial of the material existence of the whole 
of reality. For art to me is an anecdote of the spirit, and the only means of 
making concrete the purpose of its varied quickness and stillness . 

Rather be prodigal than niggardly I would sooner confer anthropomorphic 
attributes upon a stone, than dehumanize the slightest possibility of 




fig. 35 

■William Baziotes, Aquatic, 1961. Collection 
The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, 
New York 

By 1947, however, Rothko had begun to formulate his mature style. 
He broke with Surrealism and purged the remnants of this style from his 
work. Many of his colleagues did the same, and by 1950 most of the leading 
members of the New York School had forged their own highly individualis- 
tic art forms. Nevertheless, Rothko continued to experiment with a variety 
of possibilities and still exhibited, even in 1948, earlier works characterized 
by biomorphic imagery. Thus Archaic Fantasy and Rites of Lilith, both of 
1945 , were seen in his first one-man show at Betty Parsons in 1947 and Poised 
Elements, 1944, Phalanx of the Mind, 1945, Dream Imagery, Beginnings, Com- 
panionship and Solitude were included in his 1948 show at this same gallery. 
However, as critics of the 1948 presentation noted, Rothko's newer works 
indicated a striking departure into pure abstraction. The writer in Art News 

tyji,.* ■'}*■-:$ 


fig. 36 

Mark Rothko, Number 24. 1948. Collectioi 
The Museum of Modern Arr, New York. 
Gifc of the artist 

says, "Loose clouds of color appear to float on the surface; a palette opposing 
one intense hue with pastel modulations creates a spacious effect. Vaguely 
evoking the colot patterns of Bonnard, Rothko achieves lovely textures and 
moods." 33 The New York Times reviewer notes that the paintings are mural- 
size, divested of content and identified with numbers rather than associative 
titles. He remarks that one is Redon-like in its color harmonies and that 
Rothko is attempting "to avoid arresting the raw life in the pigment or the 
flow of its movement by any kind of definition. . . ," 34 Both critics consi- 
dered the paintings unresolved, and the Times writer said Rothko had 
reached an "impasse of empty formlessness, an art solely of transitions 
without beginning, middle or end." 35 

Rothko experimented during 1947 with horizontal supports instead of 
using the near-square or pronouncedly vertical formats with which he had 
formerly seemed most at ease. Once again, oil replaces watercolor. Large 
color forms of diffuse but generally rectangular shape supplant the overtly 
biomorphic imagery of the ptevious years, as the artist attempts to purify his 
work of all associative elements. The Surrealist morphology of the 1944-46 
paintings, which had displaced the mythic imagery of the preceding period, 
is now itself eliminated. In its stead is color, color as abstract shape, color in 
large and small units juxtaposed with one anothet . Despite Rothko's deliber- 
ate movement towards total abstraction, these are still clearly transitional 
works. In several canvases, the horizontal compositional orientation as well 
as the configurations of the color-shapes themselves are still referential and 
convey the distinct impression of landscape. 

This is especially apparent in Number 24. 1948 (fig. 36), where the top 
edge of the middle block of color suggests a horizon line, and the gentle 
curves or sloping contours of the beach or countryside are alluded to, but not 
specifically depicted. While they may not be particularly successful or 
resolved, paintings of this kind reveal the confluence of a number of ideas and 
forces and thus offer a most interesting insight into Rothko's development. 
In Number 24 , the residue of the past remains in echoes of Marin and, through 
him, Cezanne — the encircling border-within-the-frame, the use of oil in the 
manner of watercolor and the general, if ambiguous, reference to landscape. 

fford Still, Jamais, 1944. 
;gy Guggenheim Collection 



There are reminders of Avery, too, in the pastoral ambience and flattening of 
form. Yet another, more contemporary artist has left his imprint on Rothko's 
work of this time: Number 24 and other paintings of the period clearly call to 
mind Clyfford Still. 

Rothko had expressed his admiration for Still in an introduction he 
wrote for the catalogue of this painter's one-man exhibition at Peggy 
Guggenheim's Art of This Century in 1946. Rothko's text reads in part: 

// is significant that Still, working out West and alone, has arrived at 
pictorial conclusions so allied to those of the small band of Myth Makers 
who have emerged here during the war. The fact that his is a completely 
new facet of this idea, using unprecedented forms and completely personal 
methods, attests further to the vitality of this movement. Bypassing the 
current preoccupation with genre and the nuances of formal arrangements, 
Still expresses the tragic-religious drama which is generic to all Myths at 
all times, no matter where they occur. He is creating new counterparts to 
replace the old mythological hybrids who have lost their pertinence in the 
intervening centuries. 

For me, Still's pictorial dramas are an extension of the Greek Persephone 
Myth. As he himself has expressed it, his paintings are "of the Earth, the 
Damned and of the Recreated. 


Still, like Rothko, was interested in ritualistic subject matter and 
archaic forms as early as 1938, as evidenced, for example, by his Totemic 
Fantasy of that year. And, although Rothko included him in the band of 
"Myth Makers" with which he himself was aligned, Still wished to remain 
independent of any group or movement and later repudiated this statement. 
In fact, Still was to maintain that the paintings in the show, which had titles 
like Nemesis of Esther HI , Buried Sun and Theopathic Entities , had been named by 
someone other than himself. Still was an isolated figure, very much in the 
manner of Gauguin; the example he provided of an individual working alone, 
competing on the fringe of a peer group, without direct peer pressure, was as 
important to Rothko as the inspiration of his form, color and concept of 
painting. Certain of Still's works of the early 1940's, such as Jamais, 1944 (fig. 
37), reflect Surrealist influence, particularly that of Miro. Later in the forties 
he rejected European influence, a renunciation that was extremely significant 
to Rothko. As Still said, "I have not 'worked over' the imagery or gimmicks of 
the past, whether Realist, Surrealist, Expressionist, Bauhaus, Impressionist, 
or what you choose. I went back to my own idioms, envisioned, created and 
thought through. And the insight gained and the momentum established 
altered the character of the whole concept of the practice of painting." 37 Still, 
whose individualistic temperament was ill-suited to the New York art world, 
returned after a brief stay during 1945-46 in this city to his teaching job at the 
California School of Fine Arts in San Francisco. However, in the short time he 
was in New York, he was undeniably an important catalyst and played a 
significant role in Rothko's liberation from Surrealism. 

It was to Still that Rothko looked in 1946. The imprint of Still's style is 
apparent in the horizontal disposition of shapes with hooked and jagged 
contours in a number of Rothkos of 1946 and shortly thereafter, including the 
aforementioned Number 24 and Untitled, 1946 (cat. no. 72). These elements 
may be traced to paintings such as Still's 1945-H (fig. 38), which he showed to 
Rothko, Peggy Guggenheim and others in the fall of 1945 in New York in his 


fig. 38 

Clyfford Still, 1945-H. 1945. Collection San 
Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Gift of 
the artist 

fig- 39 

Clyfford Still, 1947-8-W No. 2, 1947. 
Albnght-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, 
New York, Gift of the artist 

Perry Street studio. 38 In addition, Still's skillful manipulation of color, shape 
and texture and his ability to create flickers of light by placing small areas of 
color at the edges of his canvas and scattered throughout the field must have 
impressed Rothko and certainly influenced his work of 1946-47. Still's later 
equation of color as space, as well as his commitment to stylistic consistency 
reinforced Rothko's own inclinations. And Rothko and Still shared a basically 
romantic attitude towards nature and painting itself — both spoke about their 
feelings of awe before the grandeur of nature and of their kinship with such 
artists as Turner and Matisse. There were facets of Still's style, however, that 
were inherently alien to Rothko's sensibility — Still's quite consistent use of 
large areas of black (a color Rothko generally avoided until the late 1960's) and 
the cavernous depths or void that it implied, his sharp and dramatic contrasts 
of positive and negative shapes and light and dark areas, the thick skin of his 
heavily encrusted paint surface. There is, in addition, a rawness and brutality 
in Still's work that aligns him with the gestural branch of Abstract Expres- 
sionism. These characteristics are very much at odds with Rothko's serene and 
orderly expression. 

Rothko was undoubtedly a conduit of ideas from New York to Still. It is 
conceivable, therefore, that he may have acted, at least in part, as a catalyst in 
Still's stylistic quantum leap between 1945 and 1948. Still was a source of 
continuing inspiration for Rothko, and the two artists were in frequent 
contact. Rothko went to San Francisco to teach at the California School of 
Fine Arts during the summer of 1947 . Still made a brief visit to New York in 
the spring of 1947 and again in the summer of 1948 to discuss the formation 
of The Subjects of the Artist School with Rothko, Baziotes, David Hare and 
Motherwell. Upon Still's recommendation, Rothko was invited to teach in 
San Francisco for a second time, during the summer of 1949- Still lent 
Rothko his studio that summer, and it was there that he saw Still's fully 
resolved painting 1947-8-W No. 2 (fig. 39). When Rothko returned to New 
York, he borrowed the painting and hung it in his New York apartment for 
six years. Although it has been stated that "Rothko developed his final style 
after seeing Still's large black 1947-8-W," 39 Rothko had, in fact, already 
formulated his mature style by that time. 

Still crystallized his characteristic imagery some time before Rothko did. 
He did not, however, achieve the heroic proportions of his fully realized style 
until 1949, when Rothko was already on the verge of his own breakthrough. 
Still and Rothko remained close for many years, and, as we have seen, Still's 
painting clearly helped to liberate Rothko. However, Rothko's contemplative 
mature formulation derives not from the basically expressionist work of Still 
but from his own unique sensibility. 

By 1947, Rothko begins to introduce larger color shapes (cat. no. 73). 
The size of the canvas itself generally remains modest, however, in this 
period of emerging abstraction. Rothko also starts to break away from the 
practice of confining images to zones. To release his patches of color and 
allow them to float, he sometimes renounces the vertical-horizontal grid 
structure and the division of the background planes into horizontal bands 
which had dominated his work from the time of the subway paintings. This 
abandonment of the balanced rectilinear structure to which he was so 
obviously drawn is a rather unexpected departure. However, even the quite 
freely disposed compositions of the period convey the sense of order and 
harmony we have come to expect of Rothko's expression. 

Freed from Surrealist imagery, Rothko is now able to experiment with 

numerous formal alternatives: he compresses a multitude of shapes and colors 
in the middle of large fields, reduces his compositions to relatively few blocks 
of color, allows his forms to merge with the grounds upon which they are 
placed and begins for the first time to achieve a wholistic image. The general 
atmosphere of freedom and the belief in limitless possibilities which pre- 
vailed in the New York art world in the 1940's must have encouraged 
Rothko to attempt such varied and sometimes uncharacteristic solutions. 

Rothko's insistence in many of his paintings upon a horizontal-vertical 
structure was very much in keeping with the practices of a number of his New 
York School colleagues. As Meyer Schapiro has pointed out, ". . .Surrealist 
painting was infected with literature, and it was only in a milieu of artists 
who also admired the Cubists and Mondrian that abstraction could take over 
some of the functions that Surrealism assigned to imagery." 40 The preference 
for the grid that the Cubists and Mondrian espoused was not a restraining but 
a liberating influence in the development of Rothko and his contemporaries, 
in that it helped offset this "infection of literature." Mondrian's geometric 53 

abstraction affected figures as diverse as de Kooning and Rothko, Newman 
and Reinhardt. These younger artists were attracted to both the formal and 
metaphysical aspects of Mondrian's pure abstraction. Like the Surrealists, 
Mondrian sought a visual system to express inner states and transcendent 
meaning. Indeed, Mondrian once said to Max Ernst, "It is not you but I who 
am the Surrealist." 41 But unlike the Surrealists, Mondrian created his 
super-reality within the strictures of pure geometry. 

Rothko's sensibility is in many respects close to Mondrian's. His 
attraction to order, stability, rectilinear structure and balanced asymmetry, 
his developing sense of the need to express a Platonic ideal, a higher spiritual 
or metaphysical truth through abstract form, are all clearly related to 
Mondrian's own goals. Despite Mondrian's personal asceticism and aesthetic 
purity, he expresses in his painting a rich, if highly controlled vein of emotion. 
Rothko recognized this and spoke of the "sensuousness of Mondrian," respond- 
ing to the complex and often contradictory nature of his art. 

Mondrian's grid divides the space of his surface plane into multiple 
units. His primary colors anchor the grid within the field but also, in 
interacting with the black lines that surround them, create spatial am- 
biguity. Thus, color and line perform dual roles and enhance rather than 
reduce the complexity of the image. Rothko, on the other hand, even in his 
paintings of 1947-48, diminishes the complicating effect of color relation- 
ships by eliminating black and white and either subduing the value contrasts 
among his colors or sensitively balancing his contrasting hues so that they all 
appear to hover on the same plane. Thus, unlike Mondrian's shapes, which 
seem to advance and retreat in space, Rothko's color forms achieve a uniform- 
ity of spatial play as they hold a single plane in a manner entirely consistent 
with his emphasis on the two-dimensional picture surface. Mondrian relied 
upon the black and white grid to contain his compositions and color, which 
he restricted to the primaries. Rothko, however, abandons all but the most 
minimal references to a rectilinear scaffolding and allows his widely varied 
and subtle color to act almost independently and at its maximum level of 
luminosity. Rothko's color is the substance of his art. Yet it is dematerialized 
and in this respect, too, most unlike Mondrian's dense color. 

In addition, Mondrian establishes a frame — his grid — within a frame 
— the small rectangle of the canvas. His compositions are compartment- 
alized and consist of small discrete units. The viewer is forced to stand back 


and examine the whole painting in order to understand how the forms and 
colors interact with one another. Rothko, on the other hand, enlarges and 
isolates small surface incidents, for example, patches of color. These enlarged 
details and, in the later work, the heroic proportions of the canvases engulf 
the viewer, immersing him in the totality of the overall image. 

Newman, who became close friends with Rothko in the 1930's, had, 
like Rothko, been an ardent advocate of Surrealism in the mid-1940's. He 
produced a number of Surrealist drawings and watercolors, executing his 
automatic, frottage-like drawings first in black and white and, then, in 
1944, adding color with grease and oil crayons as in The Blessing (fig. 40). 
Calligraphic, heavily textured and improvisational oils followed, featuring 
circular (female) forms and vertical (male) elements. Works such as Pagan 
Void, 1946, and Genetic Moment , 1947 (fig. 4 1), suggest creation and genesis. 

Mondrian's influence on Newman was perhaps even more pronounced 
than on Rothko. In his writings, Newman developed a personal and highly 
intellectual concept of painting. This formulation of his ideology enabled 
him to achieve his characteristic mature style as early as 1948: solid color 
fields interrupted by vertical stripes or "zips" of another color or tone. By 
1949, he had enlarged his canvases to heroic scale and he ultimately carried 
the idea of the expansive color field further than either Rothko or Still. Both 
Rothko and Newman focused upon a small section of the grid, enlarged it 
and utilized it to structure color and space. But, in contradistinction to 
Rothko's usual practice of working with horizontal bands of color within a 
vertical or near-square field, Newman chose, by about 1950, to orient his 
paintings horizontally and subdivide them vertically with one or more 
"zips." And in his mature painting, for example, Vir Heroicus Sublimis, 
1950-5 1 (fig. 42), Newman eliminates much of the texture that had marked 
the grounds of his earlier canvases to produce neutral, wall-like fields most 
unlike Still's heavy impasto and Rothko's atmospheric surfaces. 

Mondrian's effect on Newman is seen in his use of red and blue, with 
which he made some of his most majestic statements. To be sure, Newman 
experimented with many colors other than the primaries, and his colors are 
true only in late works such as Who's Afraid of Red, Yellow and Blue, I— IV, 
1966-70. Newman may tint his colors so that they lose their precision, but 
he makes a statement about a field of a single, specific color. Rothko, on the 
other hand, is concerned with relationships among varied and modulated 
colors. Despite Newman's rejection of pronounced texture, his field is not 
entirely flat and unmodulated. He activates his surface with his brushstrokes 
and his "zips," which he creates by masking off a section of the canvas, 
painting over the tape and allowing the pigment to bleed or seep underneath. 
The pronounced frontality and verticality of the "zip" in contrast to the 
lateral expanse of the field creates a sensation of deep space and the void 
which brings him closer to Still than it does to Rothko, who chooses to keep 
his shallow color-space in flux. 

Rothko, Newman and Still purify their art by rejecting the decorative 
qualities of paint, by ridding their canvases of complex relationships of color, 
form and structure. They reduce color to its essence and make it become 
volume, form, space and light. Having emptied their paintings of the 
superfluous, they are able to express both the material reality of abstract 
painting and the incorporeal reality of the sublime. Art for all of them 
becomes an act of revelation, of exaltation, an embodiment of universal 

fig. 40 

Barnett Newman, The Blessing, 1944. 

Collection Mrs. Barnett Newman 

fig. 41 

Barnett Newman, Genetic Moment, 1947. 

Collection Mrs. Barnett Newman 

fig. 42 

Barnett Newman. Vtr Heroicus Sublimis, 
1950—51. Collection The Museum of 
Modern Art, New York. Gift of Mr. and Mrs. 
Ben Heller 

As Rothko increasingly simplified his painting, he freed himself from 
dependence upon the examples of other artists and approached the domain 
of his own hegemony, his unique, mature expression. Elements of this 
resolved style appear in the paintings of 1948-49 which Rothko designated 
as multiforms, but not until the winter of 1949-50 does he achieve a fully 
unified, consistent vision. Numerous works of 1949 (see cat. nos. 89, 92) 
reveal an artist liberated in terms of color. Violet, Black, Orange, Yellow on 
White and Red, of 1949 (cat. no. 90), for example, reflects Rothko function- 
ing at the highest level of intuition and is predictive of his unsurpassed 
mature color statements . 

In these multiforms, Rothko is inexorably moving beyond mythic 
subject matter and Surrealist forms to replace imagery with color. This is not 
to say that certain aspects of the painting of the preceding period are not 
carried over into the new work, for, in fact, traces of such elements, primarily 
in the form of a residual calligraphy, do appear in canvases such as Multiform, 
1948, and Number 22, 1949 (cat. nos. 70, 91). These linear elements, which 
Rothko renounces entirely in his work of the 1950's, however, no longer 
carry the weight of representational or symbolic allusions but are largely 
formal in intent. In this transitional stage, Rothko cannot yet allow his color 
and shape to stand alone. He still feels impelled to define the picture plane 
and emphasize the importance of his surface with these markings. Thus, he 
places a series of short parallel strokes adjacent to a patch of color or he scores 
the paint surface with lines or outlines a block of pigment. Sometimes he 
draws with a thin line of color just inside the canvas edge to call attention to the 
picture plane and produce an effect of a strip of light — this border of light he 
was later able to create, without recourse to line, by juxtaposing areas of pure 
color. Dots, dashes, dragged lines, indeterminate contours, all are used to 
activate the surfaces of the multiforms, as Rothko more and more severely 
restricts their compositions and reduces the shapes in them to a few simple 
slabs of color. 

The process of clarification has already started in Multiform, 1948 (cat. 
no. 70): here both horizontal and vertical, large and small shapes are disposed 



seemingly at random within the field. A number of colots act at once as 
discrete entities and merge together, unified, as they are reduced to a single 
intensity. Dashes and drips are the only reminders of Rothko's former 
fascination with Surrealist automatism. More advanced is the luminous 
Number 19, 1949 (cat. no. 88), where the internal configurations are en- 
larged and simplified and the structural role of color increases in importance, 
as linear surface incident is diminished. Despite the general pattern of 
development that may be discerned in these paintings, Rothko's evolution is 
not absolutely consistent, his direction not entirely certain, as Number 18, 
1948-49 (cat. no. 77), indicates. In this canvas, he once again resorts to a 
multiplicity of lines, shapes and colors. And in another work of 1948 (cat. 
no. 84), he chooses a fairly simple format and uses relatively few colors and 
shapes, but he reveals that he is still unable to attain a complete formal 
resolution. Because this canvas is exaggeratedly narrow, the areas of color 
seem too large to be comfortably contained within it. The painting should be 
executed on a much larger scale, a scale Rothko was to successfully employ 
barely one year later. 

The characteristics of Rothko's mature style emerge with increasing 
force in paintings of 1949 like Untitled, Violet, Black, Orange, Yellow on White 
and Red and Number 22 (cat. nos. 89-91). The two latter works form an 
interesting comparison. Number 22 is unusually large (it measures 9 feet 9'/2 
inches by 8 feet 10% inches) for this date. It is quite unwieldy, as Rothko 
seems to have found it difficult to take command of the painting's space: the 
proportions of the internal rectangles are rather awkwardly adjusted to the 
dimensions of the canvas; the somewhat clumsy relationship of the internal 
shapes to one another is uncharacteristically out of balance and inharmoni- 
ous. The painting is a field of abrasive yellow with a narrow stripe of a 
related, harsh hue inserted near its top; close to the center is a broader and 
wider band of deep red, which almost touches either side of the canvas. 
Within the red area, three white lines thread their way, lines which perhaps 
recall Miro, for example, his The Hunter (Catalan Landscape), 1923-24 (fig. 
43), and are among the last vestiges of Surrealist automatic calligraphy in 
Rothko's work. Curiously, these skeins probably also refer to that wizard of 
Dada, Duchamp, for in their disposition within the composition they recall 
the linear elements in works such as Network of Stoppages , Paris, 1914 (fig. 
44). Although Rothko never acknowledged a debt to Duchamp, the Dada 
master may have influenced some of his early Surrealist-inspired works — 
Rothko's Untitled, 1945 (cat. no. 62), for example, has the quality of a 
mirror image and resembles Duchamp's the Large Glass, 1915-23 (fig- 45), 
in its general organization. And Duchamp capitalized upon chance in his art 
and was, in this, a precursor of Surrealist automatism. The existence of a link 
between Duchamp and Rothko remains an intriguing if hitherto unexplored 
possibility. Number 22, then, reflects the past and also, in its extreme 
reduction and large scale, points to the future. 

The awkwardness and harshness of this transitional work are in direct 
contrast to the much more fully resolved Violet, Black, Orange, Yellow on 
White and Red. In this painting, the significant elements of Rothko's mature 
style are not only clearly in evidence but are unified: he employs a series of 
horizontals within a vertical format and harmony is achieved by means of 
precise adjustment of a drastically reduced number of shapes and colors. This 
order is in no sense mechanical or based upon predetermined calculation; it is 
exquisitely sensitive and intuitive. 

fig. 43 

Joan Miro, The Hunter (Catalan Landscape), 
1923-24. Collection The Museum of Modern 
Art, New York 

fig. 44 

Marcel Duchamp, Network of Stoppages, Paris, 
1914. Collection The Museum of Modern Art, 
New York. Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Fund and 
gift of Mrs. William Sisler 

fig. 45 

Marcel Duchamp, The Bride Stripped Bare 
by Her Bachelors, Even (the Large Glass) 
1915-23. Collection Philadelphia Museum 
of Art: Bequest of Katherine S. Dreier 

In Violet, Black, Orange, Yellow on White and Red, Rothko reveals one of 
the supreme features of his genius — his ability to hold on a single plane 
colors that advance and retreat. He achieves this through relatively simple 
means. The large violet shape in the uppermost portion of the canvas is far 
heavier than the smaller bands of orange and yellow below it. Rothko 
prevents this rectangle from toppling because of its weight by anchoring it 
with the thin band of black directly below it and with two vertical red bars 
which, despite their narrowness, effectively counter the strength of the violet 
mass. Furthermore, the soft yellow and white ground lends added density to 
the lower half of the painting and reinforces an otherwise recessive area. 

Rothko by now had enlarged and neutralized his forms, allowing color 
to breathe. Color does not allude to landscape, as it had only a few years 
before, nor is it any longer a secondary element which supports shape. Color 
has come to stand for form. Absolutely crucial to his color expression is 
Rothko's paint handling, which evolved from his Surrealist watercolors. It is 
basically a watercolor technique translated into oil. Paint is soaked into the 
very fiber of the canvas, so that color seems dematerialized, a characteristic 
effect of Rothko's most successful late work. The intensity and warmth of 
hues (he often favors yellow, orange, violet, red) and an extreme sensuousness 
of pigment would seem to be at odds with this quality of dematerialization. 
But Rothko's color is full of contradictions. He frequently remarked he did 


not wish color to be accepted at face value, asserting that datk paintings 
could be mote cheerful than light ones, bright color more serious than deep 
hues. Rothko's goal was to make color both area and volume, emotion and 
mood, at once palpable and disembodied, sensuous yet spiritual. Fot colot 
represents something larger than its own sheet physical presence. Rothko has 
come to think of color as the doorway to another reality. 

Rothko himself said that he was not interested in color for its own sake. 
Nor did he want to be labeled — and limited — as an abstract painter. "I'm 
not interested in relations of color or form. . . . I'm not an abstractionist." 42 
He explained that color was important to him as a vehicle to express 
". . .basic human emotions — tragedy, ecstasy, doom. . . .The people who 
weep before my pictures are having the same religious experience I had when 
I painted them. And if you, as you say, are moved only by their color 
relationships, then you miss the point. " 43 Rothko had always sought to 
convey these basic emotions — but he had formerly done so through expres- 
58 sionist figures, dream-like subway scenes and, finally, mythic and Surrealist 

imagery. But it is only in his painting of the 1950's and 1960's that he 
achieves "the simple expression of the complex thought" as he distills the 
meaning of his earlier work into color; color which is the vessel for transcen- 
dental meaning. 

Red fascinates Rothko above all colors as a carrier of emotion. No other 
colot appears so insistently in his oeuvre from the time of the multiforms. It 
dominates Rothko's work of the fifties and sixies and, in fact, was the color of 
his last painting. Red is so potent optically that it overwhelms or obliterates 
other hues unless it is diluted or controlled by juxtaposing it, as Mondrian 
did, with equally strong colots, such as black and white of the other 
primaries, yellow and blue. But Rothko frequently uses it alone, altering its 
tonality according to the emotion he wishes to express. Perhaps Rothko was 
so drawn to red because of its powerful and basic associations: it is identified 
with the elements and ritual — with fire and with blood — and thus with life, 
death and the spirit. The Existentialist philosopher, Kierkegaard, whom 
Rothko and his friends deeply admired, wrote movingly of red, in terms that 
call to mind Rothko's painting: 

The result of my life is simply nothing, a mood, a single color. My result is 
like the painting of the artist who was to paint a picture of the Israelites 
crossing the Red Sea. To this end, he painted the whole wall red, 
explaining that the Israelites had already crossed over, and that the 
Egyptians were drowned. 44 

Rothko belongs very much in the tradition of such metaphysicians of 
painting as Mondrian, Paul Klee and Vasily Kandinsky, for whom color was 
the key to the realm of the spirit. The paintings and writings of Mondrian 
and Kandinsky, particularly the latter's On the Spiritual in Art , received much 
attention in New York in the 1940's. However, Rothko's commitment to 
the expression of the spiritual rather than the physical was inspired not by 
their aesthetic theories, but by the evidence of their painting. Moteover, 
magic and mysticism, myth and ritual were integral to late nineteenth- and 
twentieth- century art movements as diverse as Symbolism, Surrealism, 
Cubism and Suprematism. And Rothko's own youthful religious 
background must surely have fostered and supported his concern with the 
spiritual aspects of art. 

It is important to reiterate that Rothko did not consider himself, even 
in his mature phase, an abstract artist. He said: "I do not believe that there 
was ever a question of being abstract or representational. It is really a matter 
of ending this silence and solitude, of breathing and stretching one's arms 
again." 45 For Rothko abstract form and pure color had significance only 
insofar as they represented a higher truth. Thus, he rejected as far too 
limiting the restricted goals of pure geometric abstraction just as he re- 
nounced the literary content of Surrealism. 

Though Rothko limited his forms and restricted his number of colors, 
his intention was to enhance rather than reduce the expressive possibilities of 
his painting. To suggest multiple levels of meaning he had first to strip away 
extraneous detail, just as the Surrealist poets and painters divested the object 
of conventional associations. Once this purification has taken place and 
imagery has been renovated, the viewer is permitted new kinds of associa- 
tions, in Apollinaire's words, "numerous interpretations that sometimes 
contradict each other." 46 In these often contradictory layers of interpreta- 59 

tion, Rothko expresses rich content. Formal reductivism thus gave rise to 
expanded meaning for Rothko as for other artists of his generation. 

In a painful, often tortuous process of transformation, Rothko purified 
his painting by purging it of many of the European models he admired and 
learned from. He now expressed the metaphysical meaning of his Surrealist 
works without any recourse to the forms, symbols or allusions of his earlier 
canvases. References to the external world are subsumed into disembodied 
color, as Rothko attains a synthesis of the physical and spiritual. In this 
respect, it is interesting to note Rothko's admiration for the Italian Primi- 
tives, in particular Fra Angelico, who represented the beauty of both 
spiritual and physical worlds in their religious paintings. That Rothko was 
able to achieve this synthesis with the rigorously limited means he allowed 
himself is all the more remarkable. In these pure, reduced, transcendent 
works, Rothko makes the concrete sublime. 



.LVothko banishes entirely any hint of representational imagery from his 
painting and resolves his mature, fully integrated style by 1950. He has 
arrived at his characteristic formulation: two or three horizontal, relentlessly 
frontal rectangles of disembodied color stacked one above another almost fill 
the canvas field in which they seem to hover or float. The support is either 
long and narrow, as in Green and Red on Orange, 1950 (cat. no. 93), or 
near-square, as in No. 8, 1952 (cat. no. 105). Gone are the few vestiges of 
linear elements that remained in the paintings of 1949. Gone, too, are the 
layers of color bands and contrasting horizontal and vertical forms that had 
marked the multiforms. 

Spatial illusionism always played a part in Rothko's work — from the 
Renaissance windows of his first paintings to his Surrealist dream-landscapes 
and, finally, to the Mondrian-inspired complex spatial play of the mul- 
tiforms. But this illusionism was extremely limited as early as the subway 
paintings. In a work like Subway Scene, 1938 (cat. no. 22), for example, 
although recession into depth is indicated, one tends to read the image from 
top to bottom, on the flat canvas surface. Rothko always creates a figure- 
ground relationship but, in virtually all his work from the time of the subway 
paintings, he modifies it by dividing his canvas into horizontal bands. These 
bands emphasize the canvas surface and therefore flatten the composition. 
This sectioning is an underlying, if often subliminal, unifying factor 
throughout Rothko's oeuvre. 

By 1950, this stratification is stressed further. Because Rothko's rec- 
tangles of color are utterly frontal, spatial illusionism is even more limited 
than before. But the paintings are not resolutely flat: Rothko has diminished 
the figure-ground relationship but has not abandoned it, and his forms float 
ever so slightly above the color field upon which they are placed. This depth 
is restricted, not only by means of frontality, but through feathery paint 
application which renders the rectangles almost transparent: the ground is 
revealed through the color forms and appears to merge with them. In 
addition, Rothko often uses a band or accent of stronger color to reassert the 
picture plane. Despite the emphasis on the picture plane and the sense of 
shallow depth, there is in these paintings a curious, paradoxical fluctuation 
in space — the color forms seem not only to hover on the canvas surface but 
actually to move forward. Because these veils of color are so weightless, 
because there is about them a sensation of mist and atmosphere, they advance 
and appear to exist somewhere between us and the picture, somewhere 

between what we know to be true and what we perceive. 

In these paintings, which are the essence of simplicity, Rothko express- 
es his ideas with increased clarity and directness. As he had said somewhat 

The progression of a painter's work, as it travels in time from point to point, 
will be toward clarity: toward the elimination of all obstacles between the 
painter and the idea and between the idea and the observer. As examples of 
such obstacles, I give (among others) memory, history or geometry, which 
are swamps of generalization from which one might pull out parodies of 
ideas (which are ghosts) but never an idea in itself. To achieve this clarity 
is, inevitably, to be understood. 47 

Rothko's commitment to reduction and clarity filled him with self- 
doubt and was achieved at great emotional cost. But this commitment 
endows his paintings with a nobility and monumentality which place him "* 

among the foremost artists of his generation, perhaps even among the greatest 
of the twentieth century and thus enables him to attain his grand ambition. He 
later came to question his single-minded direction and often told his friends 
that he felt trapped in it; he nevertheless produced an astonishing body of work 
which, especially from 1950 to 1956, was at once remarkably consistent and 
extraordinarily varied. For, while he severely limits the general format of his 
compositions, rigorously restricting the number, kind and orientation of his 
shapes, he uses canvases of different sizes and an enormous range of colors, 
combining them in seemingly infinite ways, and exquisitely adjusts the 
relationships of rectangles whose proportions are slightly altered from painting 
to painting. Through this rich and subtle formal variety, Rothko gives 
expression to an unpatalleled range of emotions, moods and sensations, a range 
and a sensibility that neither his contemporaries nor the younger generation of 
color-field painters of the later 1950's and early 1960's were able to approach. 

In these paintings, Rothko is clearly creating a set of rules for himself, 
but he would not Or could not remain within them. Constantly exploring, 
reshaping and re-evaluating form and color, he seems to have established 
these principles only to break them. Reinhardt shares with Rothko the sense 
of need for perfection, the desire to express a Utopian order, a metaphysical 
truth with his abstract form and color. And, like Rothko, he reduces his 
painting to its essence. But Reinhardt adheres obsessively to the series of 
aesthetic principles he formulated for himself. By I960 he had established a 
fixed module of a five-by-five-foot canvas and limited his color to black, his 
imagery to a cruciform structure of nine squares. The color painters of the 
sixties, too, felt the need to remain within a system. They, however, dispense 
with metaphysics in favor of the pragmatism of pure color*painting. 

Rothko perfected a technique of dyeing (or staining, as it later came to 
be called) with his paint which enabled him to satutate the threads of his 
canvas with his medium so that pigment and canvas become one. By 
applying many thin washes of paint, one over another, and often allowing 
some of the colors in the bottom layers to appear through the top coat of 
pigment, Rothko achieves the effect of a hidden light source. In most of the 
paintings of this period, Rothko creates a quality of inner light which seems 
to emanate from the very core of the work, a quality that calls to mind the 
palpable and spiritual light of Rembrandt, an artist whom he very much 
admired. Rothko often enhances this effect of inner light by floating a thin 

seam or sliver of another color through his rectangles or around their edges. 
Thus, in Green, White, Yellow on Yellow of 1951 (cat. no. 102), fleeting 
glimpses of pink underpainting punctuate the large green upper mass, which 
is partially surrounded by a narrow border of softly brushed white. There is a 
layer of green underpainting in the yellow block at the bottom of the canvas: 
it shines through the yellow, emphasizing the sense of suffused light and also 
balancing the composition. The yellow field behind the two rectangles 
provides yet another border of light and further unifies the painting. 

Rothko's mastery of both coloristic and formal nuance is revealed in 
painting after painting of the 1950's. A comparison of Brown, Blue, Brown on 
Blue, 1953, and Homage to Matisse, 1954 (cat. nos. 108, 107), demonstrates 
his supreme ability to achieve astonishingly different results within his 
severely restricted format. The former painting, roughly square in shape, is 
illuminated by an electric blue in its midsection. So powerful is this blue that 
it must be offset by two darker and larger brown forms to prevent it from 
62 destroying the stability and balance Rothko seeks. Because the blue is more 

intense in value than the other colors, it would burst out of the rectangle if 
the heavier and denser masses of brown above and below it did not press in 
upon it to hold it in place. The blue field which surrounds the three bands 
(and is also behind them) locks them together in a single plane. Contradic- 
tions between foreground and background, flatness and shallow depth 
emerge and coexist in tenuous and ever-shifting relationships. This canvas 
indicates that Rothko could exploit blue to powerful effect, yet it is a color he 
worked with less often than red — perhaps because it had come to be identified 
with Newman, who had used it so early and so well. The richness of Brown, 
Blue, Brown on Blue certainly derives in large part from Rothko's successful use 
of the several blues disposed throughout it, but also depends upon the variety 
and textures of the surrounding browns. Extraordinary balance, a superb 
handling of scale and proportion and the tension between emphatic frontality 
and flatness and an effect of shallow space also contribute to the painting's 

Despite the large size of Brown, Blue, Brown on Blue and the other 
paintings of this period, Rothko's work is refined and subtle and thus remains, 
despite its majestic proportions, intimate and emotionally accessible. As 
Rothko said: 

/ paint very large pictures. I realize that historically the function of 
painting large pictures is painting something very grandiose and pompous . 
The reason I paint them, however — / think it applies to other painters I 
know — is precisely because I want to be very intimate and human. To 
paint a small picture is to place yourself outside your experience, to look 
upon an experience as a stereopticon view or with a reducing glass .... 
However you paint the larger picture, you are in it. It isn't something you 
command. 48 

A special, intensely personal relationship is achieved between the viewer and 
the canvas and, by extension, Rothko. Acutely aware of the need for this 
relationship, the artist noted: 

A picture lives by companionship , expanding and quickening in the eyes of 
the sensitive observer. It dies by the same token. It is therefore a risky act to 
send it out into the world. How often it must be impaired by the eyes of the 

unfeeling and the cruelty of the impotent who would extend their affliction 

The words that describe the qualities and components of Rothko's 
art — measure, balance, shape, texture, tonality — cannot adequately express 
its breathtaking beauty. Indeed, Brown, Blue, Brown on Blue and other 
mature paintings elicit a sense of awe on the part of the viewer and convey a 
feeling of mystery, a harmony and meaning that is magical and larger than 
the sum of the parts of each canvas. In these transcendent works, Rothko 
creates the contemporary spiritual equivalent of the great Renaissance paint- 
ings he revered, paintings which were meant to inspire the beholder, not 
merely with their formal perfection but also as reminders of an order beyond 
man and nature. 

The ultimate effect of Homage to Matisse is completely unlike that of 
Brown, Blue, Brown on Blue. This difference is in part produced by Rothko's 
use of a long narrow canvas, the one alternative he allows himself to the 
squarish format of Brown, Blue, Brown on Blue. Once again he employs blue, 
here in the form of a rectangle at the bottom of the composition. It is 
surmounted by a floating, vaporous yellow square. The misty yellow and the 
red beneath it behave in an unexpected way. The red that peers through from 
underneath the yellow overlay has a bluish tinge. This is curious, because 
when red and yellow interact they normally produce orange. To create this 
unusual effect, Rothko must have made the square an extremely bluish-red. 
But the uncovered portion of it is a true red: in all probability Rothko 
overpainted the band with this color. Therefore, in a quite inexplicable way, 
the veiled red, which should be more orange than the uncovered band, is 
actually bluish. The result is a sense of coherent shape and implausible color. 
Rothko refuses to accept proven rules about the behavior of color — that is, 
that red and yellow make orange. Here he creates his own rules and reinvents 


fig. 46 

Henri Matisse, The Red Studio. 1911. 
Collection The Museum of Modern Art, 
New York. Mrs. Simon Guggenheim Fund 


color, and this is his homage to Matisse. 

Matisse was profoundly important to Rothko and his contemporaries. 
His The Red Studio. 1911 (fig. 46), and The Blue Window, autumn 1911. 
without doubt inspired the artists of the New York School. To be sure, 
Rothko did not find relevant Matisse's rather straightforward representation 
of objects in such paintings. But his radical use of unifying planes of sensuous 
color which flatten space into the two-dimensional surface of the canvas had 
enormous impact on Rothko. 

There is also a symbolic and spiritual dimension in Homage to Matisse. In 
his choice of scarlet and true red, Rothko perhaps makes reference to Catholic 
vestments. The dense blue rectangle is emphatically, intensely physical; it 
contrasts with and acts as a foil for the evanescent, incorporeal form of the 
golden square. This shimmering halo-like form calls forth associations with 
religious imagery. Thus, the painting speaks of form and space, of the real and 
immaterial, the physical and sensual yet disembodied presence of paint. 

During the course of the 1950's , Rothko experiments in a number of ■ 
ways: the size of the field and the interior configuration differ in relationship 
to one another and from painting to painting, the widths of the spaces 
between colors vary, colors range from bright to dark, from gay to sober, but 
are rarely somber, small amounts of black are introduced, although this color 
does not figure prominently until the late 1960's. Paint is handled in a loose, 
brushy manner, feathered out so that the edges of forms are never clearly 
defined. The canvas is stretched and then painted not only on its front surface 
but on its sides as well. The works are left unframed so that the depth of the 
stretchers and the entire painted surface are revealed. Although his composi- 
tions are generally weighted towards their tops, Rothko occasionally concen- 
trates his darkest, heaviest colors at the bottom of the canvas, as, for 
example, in Light. Earth and Blue , 1954 (cat. no. 116). Light, Earth and Blue 
is one of the few paintings of this time with a title that enhances its meaning. 
Rothko had no fixed system for naming his canvases: most are either left 
untitled or identified with numbers or colors, since he probably felt that 
more interpretive or descriptive names would restrict their meanings. Some- 
times he bleeds the edges of rectangles so they appear unfinished — he then 
completes their forms by enclosing them within another color area, as in 
Number 8, 1952 (cat. no. 105), or he leaves part of the rectangle so well 
defined that the viewer can read it as a totality and complete the shape 
himself, as in Yellow. Orange. Red on Orange , 1954 (cat. no. 1 10). 

Rothko minimizes the tactility of his paint by dyeing it into the canvas; 
as we have seen, his color, despite its intensity, becomes disembodied and 
seems to hover somewhere in front of the paintings. Because by now the 
canvases are larger than life-size — and are often very large indeed — the 
spectator is encompassed by these floating color shapes, drawn into space 
that exists somewhere between himself and the picture plane and is engulfed 
in an overwhelming emotional experience. Rothko's commitment to creat- 
ing this exalted emotional experience, to art as an act of revelation, shared by 
Still and Newman, contrasts markedly with the attitudes of painters like 
Pollock or de Kooning and Franz Kline, for whom the physical rather than 
the spiritual aspects of painting were of central importance. For these artists 
who emphasized the gestural elements of Abstract Expressionism, the canvas 
must reflect the very act of painting. Pollock, pouring paint, walking around 
and in his canvas, using his entire body as he worked, was the quintessential 
action painter. Because his canvases were so large, Rothko probably had to 

expend as much physical energy when he painted as Pollock did. But 
Rothko's approach was contemplative rather than physical; unlike Pollock, 
who worked intuitively, rapidly and spontaneously, Rothko proceeded from 
long periods of meditation to the physical act of painting. 

As the 1950's advance, Rothko's canvases grow larger, the edges of his 
forms become more concrete, the colors more opaque, the mood of the work 
more somber. This shift in direction was clarified and emphatically reflected 
in a mural series Rothko executed for the Four Seasons restaurant in the 
Seagram Building in 1958. Rothko had never before received a mural 
commission nor had he ever painted a formal and unified series. He worked 
on them for nearly a year and actually completed three separate sets of murals 
before he was satisfied. Each set became progressively darker: the first were 
primarily orange and brown, the last, deepest maroon and black. In them, 
Rothko abandons solid color-forms in favor of rectangles with open centers 
that reveal the field behind them and therefore suggest doorways. For the first 
time he employs a horizontal support with a vertical configuration and restricts 65 

his palette more severely than ever before, using only two colors in each panel. 
Rothko explained that the panels were inspired by Michelangelo: 

After I had been at work for some time, I realized that I was much 
influenced subconsciously by Michelangelo's walls in the staircase room of 
the Medicean Library in Florence . . . he makes the viewers feel that they 
are trapped in a room where all the doors and windows are bricked up, so 
that all they can do is butt their heads forever against the wall. 50 

For the first time, the work is brooding, forbidding, tragic. 

Rothko completed the commission but did not deliver the paintings: 
when he saw the space for which they were intended, he said he was offended 
and returned the sum he had been paid for them. In fact, this was not the only 
time Rothko refused to sell his work or accept patronage. He would not allow 
certain museums to buy his paintings in the 1950's and returned the 
Guggenheim International Award prize money he won in 1958. These 
actions no doubt depended upon deep-seated emotional and moral attitudes. 
By this time famous and financially secure, he must still have been outraged 
by social injustice, as he had been in his impoverished youth. The radical, 
liberal Jewish immigrant probably felt guilty because he was himself rich 
and had accepted a commission for a commercial establishment that served 
the wealthy. It is well known that Rothko's success brought him at least as 
much torment as comfort. Whether or not Rothko was ever really satisfied 
with the Four Seasons murals is open to conjecture. He did consent to sell the 
first group as separate paintings. The second set was abandoned and the third, 
completed in 1959, Rothko gave to The Tate Gallery in London (figs. 47, 48). 

In I960, The Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C., openedanew 
wing and set aside a room in it to display their three Rothkos, which 
included Green and Tangerine on Red, 1956 (cat. no. 13 1). A fourth painting, 
Ochre and Red on Red, 1954 (cat. no. 1 18), was acquired in 1964 and added to 
the room at that time. The idea was conceived by Duncan Phillips, who was 
moved by the artist's profound use of light and color. The windows in the 
room were darkened, and thus was born the first "Rothko Chapel." This 
installation undoubtedly affected Rothko's thinking about future presenta- 
tions of his work. 

Rothko was given his first important one-man museum exhibition by 


figs. 47, 48 

The Tate Gallery, London, installation view 




The Museum of Modern Art in New York in 1961. He directed the 
installation himself and made radical decisions about lighting and place- 
ment. When he participated in the 15 Americans show at The Museum of 
Modern Art in 1952, Rothko had asked that his paintings be hung in blazing 
light and placed so close together that they touched one another. Some time 
later, however, when one of his canvases was installed in the Modern's 
collection galleries, Rothko indicated that he wanted the lighting dimmed. 
Now he had all of the works hung very close to one another and drastically 
reduced the lighting, so that the paintings appeared to glow in the dark. The 
effect produced was one of an intimate environment, of a dark space in which 
the paintings, instead of existing as individual entities, constituted a series 
although they ranged in date from 1945 to I960 and varied considerably in 

Rothko was commissioned to execute a series of murals in 1961 for 
Harvard University by Professor Wassily Leontief, Chairman of the Society 
of Fellows and Professor of Economics of Harvard University, and John P. 
Coolidge, Director of the Fogg Art Museum. They were slated to be installed 
in the penthouse of Holyoke Center, designed by Jose Luis Sert, but were 
ultimately placed on permanent view in the faculty dining room at the 
Center. Completed in 1962, the Harvard murals were exhibited at the 
Guggenheim Museum in the late spring of 1963 before they were sent on to 
Cambridge. The series consisted of five monumental panels which were 
intended to be hung in two distinct but interrelated groups (cat. nos. 
175-177). For the Guggenheim installation, Rothko flanked a wide panel 
with two narrower ones; these formed a triptych. The remaining panels, one 
wide, one narrow, were hung on separate walls adjoining the triptych. 

Rothko's configurations in these murals are made up of post and lintel 
forms — single ones in the narrower panels, double ones merged together in 
the wide ones. The plinth-like masses are linked at top and bottom by very 67 

narrow bands and by small discrete rectangles. The ground is dusky plum- 
purple, one of Rothko's favorite colors, which is offset by black, deep alizarin 
and creamy yellow columns. The relationship of the pillars to the picture 
plane creates the illusion of space, while the saturated pigment and 
brushwork assert the two-dimensionality of the canvas surface. The murals, 
more impetuously painted than his earlier canvases, are replete with tempes- 
tuous strokes and aggressive blocky forms. The somber colors and massive 
shapes create at once a sense of architecture, silence and stasis. The cumula- 
tive effect of the installation at the Guggenheim was a feeling of a sanctuary 
within a public space. 

The Museum of Modern Art installation may have influenced an in- 
creasing bias on Rothko's part in favor of dimly lit presentations and the 
evolution of ever-darker paintings throughout the sixties. This development 
must also be attributed to a change in Rothko's personality, for as his fame 
grew, so did his uneasiness, and he became increasingly depressed as the 
years passed. Internal and external pressures mounted. The strain of The 
Museum of Modern Art exhibition took its toll — he produced very little in 
1962 and 1963- He attended more and more ceremonial events — such as the 
Kennedy and Johnson inaugural festivities and a state dinner celebrating the 
arts at the White House — and painted less and less. Although highly 
acclaimed in the fifties, he was barely earning enough then to support his 
wife, Mell, and his daughter, Kate, born in 1950. Now he was able to travel 
abroad extensively with his family and visit the cities and monuments he 
must have yearned to see. In 1963, his son, Christopher, was born. He 
should have been happy and confident but he was deeply troubled. Friends 
relate that he spoke of being trapped and feared his work had reached a dead 

But by 1964, Rothko was preoccupied with a major undertaking, a 
commission from Dominique and John de Menil to execute murals for a 
chapel in Houston (figs. 49, 50). This chapel, originally intended to be 
Roman Catholic and part of the University of St. Thomas, was finally 
realized as an interdenominational chapel affiliated with the Institute of 
Religion and Human Development at Rice University. The octagonal floor 
plan was designed by Philip Johnson; the final design was executed under the 
supervision of Howard Barnstone and Eugene Aubrey. Rothko accepted the 
project with great enthusiasm and began to work on the murals shortly after 


he moved into his last studio, a converted carriage house on East 69th Street. 
The commission gave Rothko the opportunity to fulfill one of his life's 
ambitions — to create a monument that could stand in the great tradition of 
Western religious art. He placed a parachute over his skylight to adjust the 
natural light that filtered in during the daytime, preferring to keep the 
studio relatively dark. Rothko became obsessed with the chapel. He started 
the panels in the winter of 1964 and continued to work intensively on them 
until 1967, when they were basically complete. Yet even after 1967 he 
returned to them from time to time to make minor changes. 

Tragically, Rothko did not live to see this project realized, and it was 
dedicated almost one year to the day after he committed suicide. Rothko 
designed three triptychs, five single panels and four alternatives for the 
chapel (figs. 49, 50). His theme was the Passion of Christ and he had, at one 
point, planned to place the numbers of the fourteen Stations of the Cross on 
the exterior of the building to indicate the location of each panel inside the 
structure. Two triptychs and one single panel are comprised of black hard- 
edged rectangles on maroon fields; one triptych and four single panels are 
entirely black, veiled with a wash of maroon. Variations in the thickness of 
paint produce nuances of color. In these murals on the Passion of Christ, 
Rothko evokes with his red and black his belief in the passion of life, the 
finality of death, the reality of the spirit. Red, so often the principal carrier of 
Rothko's emotions and ideas, is now accompanied by black, which sym- 
bolizes his state of mind and the character of his existence in the latter part of 
his life. Black, however, does not signify only death. It is one of the richest 
colors in the artist's palette. Rothko had reduced his painting in the fifties by 
restricting it to the simplest shapes and to color; now he was purifying it even 
of colors, limiting himself to red and, finally, black. These reds and blacks 
do not any longer seem to exist as physical color, but rather, as tranquil, 
tragic, twilit dreams of color. Even more than the Four Seasons or Harvard 
murals, the Houston paintings create a total environment, a unified atmo- 
sphere of all-encompassing, awe-inspiring spirituality. 

In 1968, Rothko suffered an aneurysm of the aorta. This condition was 
aggravated by other ailments, by heavy drinking — common among artists 
of his generation — and by family problems. Nevertheless, in the last two 
years of his life Rothko produced an astonishing and prolific body of work. 
These were in acrylics, a medium which Rothko chose because he was 
attracted to their fast-drying qualities — he was able to make one painting a 
day. Some were canvases but the majority were extraordinary paper pieces, 
among the most exquisite work he had done. He had, of course, worked on 
paper in the forties and he executed small-scale paper versions of his oils on 
canvas in 1958. Rothko had his assistant roll out a length of paper on the 
floor as he watched. Once he decided on the size he wanted, he had a series of 
ten to fifteen sheets cut to approximately the same dimensions. Then he 
tacked the papers on the wall in a row and worked on them one at a time. 

The new acrylics are simplicity itself: in most of them two dark 
planes — either brown or black on grey — are surrounded by a narrow white 
border. The borders were of extreme importance to Rothko, who constantly 
readjusted their proportions in relation to the inner configurations. Imagery, 
mood and meaning are vastly different from his work of the 1950's and early 
1960's. The glowing colors of the earlier paintings are replaced here by 
deeper, quieter hues; the rectangles, which formerly floated, are denser, 
more stable, because of the more opaque quality of the acrylics. Rothko's 

figs. 49. 50 

The Rothko Chapel, Houston 

fig. 51 

Caspar David Friedrich, Monk by the Sea. 1810. 
Collection Staatliche Schlosser und Garten, 
Schloss Chatlottenburg, Berlin 

preference for horizontal divisions within vertical canvases and configura- 
tions is replaced by an insistence upon horizontal divisions of horizontal 
supports. Where the vertical called to mind architecture, the horizontal 
alludes to landscape. The doorways to a higher reality created before the 
Houston Chapel were still redolent with sensuous color and form: there was 
in them an equilibrium between two states of existence, the spiritual and the 
physical. The new works, however, speak entirely of another, transcendent 
world, of a painter who has crossed a threshold into the far side of reality. 

These landscapes of the spirit bear a certain resemblance to paintings by 
Caspar David Friedrich, such as Monk by the Sea (fig. 51). Both artists stand in 
awe of the spirit, both use nature to express that spirit. Friedrich, of course, 
felt it necessary to incorporate a human element in the figure of the monk; 
Rothko has long since banished all allusions to the human form. Specific 
references to beach, sea and sky are also unnecessary for Rothko. He conveys 
all of his meaning through gesture and in the way the darker, heavier top 
mass meets the lighter, usually smaller area of grey below. The two planes are 
painstakingly adjusted and readjusted; between them is a band which 
appears to be a flicker of light. Often, especially in the paper pieces, this 
luminosity is Inness-like. The weight and texture of the canvas create a 
heavier, darker presence than the paper does. In both paper pieces and 
canvases, however, Rothko is moving towards darkness, "...the abstract 
idea is incarnated in the image. . . . But this is not to say that the images 
created by Rothko are the thin evocations of the speculative intellect; they are 
rather the concrete, the tactual expression of the intuitions of an artist to 
whom the subconscious represents not the farther, but the nearer shore of 
art," wrote the author of the preface to the catalogue of Rothko's one-man 
exhibition at Art of This Century in 1945. By the end of his life Rothko had 
moved beyond such concepts in his painting. No longer is his art earthbound, 
sensual, corporeal. He had attained a harmony, an equilibrium, a wholeness, 
in the Jungian sense, that enabled him to express universal truths in his 
breakthrough works, fusing the conscious and the unconscious, the finite and 
the infinite, the equivocal and the unequivocal, the sensuous and the spiritual. 
Now he had left behind all that spoke of the carnate, the concrete. He had 
reached the farther shore of art. 

Diane Waldman 




1 Interview with Edward Weinstein, 
January 24, 1978. According to Weins- 
tein, there were numerous variants of 
the name, such as Rothkovich, adopted 
by different family members. One 
branch of the family changed its name 
to Weinstein and another to Nagel. 

2. Letter from Weinstein, February 24, 

3- John Fischer, "The Easy Chair: Mark 
Rothko: portrait of the artist as an angry 
man," Harper's, vol. 241, no. 1442, 
July 1970, p. 17. 

4. Letter from Dr. Max Naimark, Feb- 
ruary 14, 1978. 

5. Current Biography Yearbook, Charles 
Moritz.ed, New York, 1961, p. 398. 

6. Fischer, "The Easy Chair," p. 22. 

7. Letter from Naimark, December 27, 

8. "The Romantics were Prompted," Pos- 
sibilities 1, Winter 1947/8, p. 84. 

9- Quoted in Brian O'Doherty, American 
Masters: The Voice and the Myth, New 1973, p. 153. 

10. Quoted in "A Certain Spell," Time , vol. 
lxxvii, no. 10, March 3, 1961, p. 75. 

1 1 Jane Schwartz, "Around the Galleries," 
Art News, vol. xxxii, no. 9, December 
2, 1933, p. 16. 

12. Quoted in 0[scar] C[ollier], "Mark 
Rothko," The New Iconograph, no. 4, 
Fall 1947, p. 41. 

13. Letter from Sally M. Avery, December 

14, 1977. 

14. Eulogy for Milton Avery, delivered 
January 7, 1965, New York Society for 
Ethical Culture. 

15. L[awrence] C[ampbell], "Reviews and 
Previews: Painting from the WPA," 
Art News, vol. 60, no. 5, September 

1961, p. 14. 

16. Andre Breton, What is Surrealism, Lon- 
don, 1936, p. 65. 

17. Joseph Solman, "The Easel Division of 
the WPA Federal Art Project," TheNew 
Deal Art Projects: An Anthology of 

Memoirs, Francis V. O'Connor, ed., 
Washington, D.C., 1972, p. 120. 

18. Letter from H. R. Hays, December 27, 


19- Leter from Solman, November 15, 

20. Ibid. 

21. Mercury Galleries, New York, The Ten: 
Whitney Dissenters, November 15, 

22. Letter from Solman, November 15, 

23. J. L., "Three Moderns: Rothko, 
Gromaire and Solman," Art News, vol. 
xxxviii, no. 16, January 20, 1940, p. 

24. Joseph Liss, "Portrait by Rothko," un- 
published, n.d. On deposit in Rothko 
file, Whitney Museum of American 
Art, New York. 

25. Letter from Edith S. Carson, January 5, 

26. Breton, What is Surrealism, p. 59. 

27. John D. Graham, System and Dialectics 
of Art, New York, 1937, p. 15. 

28. Marcus Rothko and Adolph Gottlieb 
with unacknowledged collaboration of 
Barnett Newman [letter], in Edward 
Alden Jewell, "The Realm of Art: A 
New Platform and Other Matters: 
'Globalism' Pops into View," The Neu 1 
York Times, June 13, 1943, p. x9. 

29. Sidney Janis, Abstract and Surrealist Art 
in America, New York, 1944, p. 118. 

30. Interview with Solman, March 3, 1978. 

31. Art of This Century, New York, Mark 
Rothko: Paintings, January 9-February 
4, 1945, n.p. 

32. "Personal Statement" in David Porter 
Gallery, Washington, DC, A Paint- 
ing Prophecy — 1950. 

33. "Reviews and Previews," Art News, 
vol. xlvii, no. 2, April 1948, p. 63. 

34. Sam Hunter, "Diverse Modernism," 
TheNew York Times. March 14, 1948, 
p. 8x. 

35. Ibid. 

36. "Clyfford Still" in Art of This Century, 
New York, Clyfford Still, February 
12-March7, 1946. 

37. Quoted in San Francisco Museum of 
Modern Art, Clyfford Still, January 
9-March 14, 1976, pp. 108-109. 

38. Idem., opposite pi. 10. 

39. Idem., p. 52. 

40. Meyer Schapiro, "The Younger Ameri- 
can Painters of Today," The Listener, 
vol. lv, no. 1402, January 26, 1956, p. 

41. Quoted in Morton Feldman, "After 
Modernism," Art in America, vol. 59, 
no. six, November-December 1971, p. 

42. Selden Rodman, Conversations with Art- 
ists. New York, 1957, p. 93. 

43. Idem., pp. 93-94. 

44. Stfren Kierkegaard, Either/Or, trans. 
David F. Swenson and Lillian Marvin, 
Princeton, New Jersey, 1971, vol. I, p. 
28. This is "A," an aesthete, speaking. 

45. "The Romantics were Prompted," Pos- 
sibilities I, Winter 1947/48, p. 84. 

46. Quoted in Anna Balakian, Surrealism: 
The Road to the Absolute, New York, 
1959, p. 64. 

47. "Statement on his Attitude in Paint- 
ing," The Tiger's Eye, vol. 1, no. 9, 
October 1949, p. 114. 

48. "A Symposium on How to Combine 
Architecture, Painting and Sculpture," 
Interiors, vol. ex, no. 10, May 1951, p. 

49. The Museum of Modern Art, New 
York, 15 Americans. March 25-June 
11, 1952, p. 18. 

50. Quoted in Fischer, "The Easy Chair," 
p. 16. 

Ca. 1964-66. Photo by Alexander 

1. Portrait of Rothko's Mother, n.d. 
Oil on canvas, 20 x 16!4" 
Estate of Mark Rothko 


2. Untitled, late 1920s 

Watercolor on paper, 15 x 22" 
Lent anonymously 

/fa I **■ 

3. Untitled, late 1920s 

Watercolor on paper, 15 x 21V4" 
Estate of Mark Rothko 




Untitled, late 1920s 
Watercolor on paper, 15 x \2Ys" 
Estate of Mark Rothko 

5. The Bathers. late 1920s 

Watercolor on paper, 1214 x 15" 
Estate of Mark Rothko 

6. Untitled, late 1920s 

Watercolor on paper, 12 l A X 15" 
Estate of Mark Rothko 

1. Untitled, [ate 1920s 

Watercolor on paper, 12% x 15" 
Estate ot Mark Rothko 

8. Pasture., late 1920s 

Watercolor on paper, 10% x 15%" 
Estate of Mark Rothko 

9- Untitled. 1930 

Oil on canvas, 21 x 27" 
Estate of Mark Rothko 

10. Untitled. 1930 

Oil on canvas, 28 x 17" 
Courtesy The Pace Gallery 

1 1. Interior. 1932 

Oil on masonite, 23% x 18" 
Estate of Mark Rothko 

12. Untitled. 1932 

Oil on muslin mounted on 
canvas board, 26% x 20 3 4" 
Estate of Mark Rothko 

13. Untitled. 1936-37 

Oil on canvas, 24 x 18" 
Courtesy The Pace Gallery 

14. Nude. 1936 

Oil on canvas, 36 x 2AVa" 
Estate of Mary Alice Rothko 

/ .... k 





.V "•" '-. 

15. Untitled. 1938 

Oil on canvas, 49 3 4 x 37" 
Estate of Mark Rothko 

16. Untitled. 1936-38 

Oil on canvas, 40Ks x 30Vs" 
Lent anonymously 


17. Untitled. 1936-38 

Oil on canvas, 28 x 36" 
Estate of Matk Rothko 

18. Untitled, ca. 1936 

Oil on canvas, 32 x 42" 
Estate of" Mark Rothko 

19. Self Portrait. 1936 

Oil on canvas, 32(4 x 26" 
Estate of Mary Alice Rothko 

20. Subway (Subterranean Fantasy), ca. 1936 
Oil on canvas, 33% x 46" 
Estate of Mark Rothko 

21. Untitled. 1936-38 

Oil on canvas, 20V4 x 30" 
Estate of Mark Rothko 

22. Subway Scene. 1938 

Oil on canvas, 35 x 4714" 
Estate of Mark Rothko 

^jm£&b k 39*/. 



23. Antigone. 1938 

Oil on canvas, 34 x 46" 
Lent anonymously 

24^ Untitled. 1939-40 

Oil on canvas, 29 3 /4 x 36" 
Estate ot Mark Rothko 




25. Untitled. 1940-41 

Oil on canvas, \1Va x 25V5" 
Estate of Mark Rothko 

26. The Omen of the Eagle. 1942 

Oil on canvas, 25'/2 x 17%" 
Estate- ill Mark Rotlikn 

27. The Omen. 1942-43 

Oil on canvas, 19 x 13" 
Estate ot Mark Rothko 


28 The Syrian Bull. 1943 

Oil on canvas. 3914 X.27W" 
Collection Mrs. Barnctt Newman 

29. Sacrifice of lphigenia. 1942 
Oil on canvas, 50 x 37" 
Lent anonymously 

30. Horizontal Procession 

(Gyrations on Four Plana: >'> i i 
Oil on canvas, 23% x 47%" 
Lent anonymously 

5 1 ■ Poised Elements . 1944 
Oil on canvas, 37 x 49" 
Courtesy The Pace Gallery 

$2. Unlit led. 1944 

Watercolor on paper, 26 x 19%" 
Lent anonymously 

33. Phalanx of the Mind. 1944 
Oil on canvas, 54 x 35%" 
Estate of Mark Rothko 

I : I „•. - 

M. Ttresias. 1944 

Oil on canvas, 79% x 40" 
Estate of Mary Alice Rothko 

35. Archaic Phantasy. 1945 
Oil on canvas, 48 x 24" 
Courtesy The Pace Gallery 

Oil on ca 

Courtesy The Pace GaJIery 

3 T . Birth of Cephalopods. 1944 
Oil on canvas, 39^ x 53VS" 
Estate of Mark Rothko 

38. TotemSign. 1945-46 

Watercolor on paper, 29'/2 x 21 '/t" 
Courtesv The Pace Gallery 

39. Rites of Lilith. 1945 

Oil on canvas, 81% x 100%" 
Estate of Mark Rothko 

iO I ntitled 1945-46 

Watc-rcolor on paper, 27'/; x 20H" 
Courtesy The Pate Gallen 

1. Untitled. 1944-45 

Watercolor on paper, 22% x 30%" 
Estate of Mark Rothko 

*— ^ « *«^1 -r / 

42. Entombment I 19 S6 

Gouache on paper, 20-H x 25'4" 

Collection Whitney Museum of American Art, New York 

43. Entombment II. 1946 

Watercolor on paper, 30 x 38" 
Private Collection 

44. V mitUd. 1945-46 

Watercolor on paper, 40% x 2714" 
Lent anonymously 

Untitled. 1945-46 

Watercolor on paper, 29Vs x 2\ } A" 

Lent anonymously 

I. Untitled. 1944 -45 

Watercolor on paper, 29 3 4 x 2\yg" 
Estate of Mark Rothko 

. 1945-46 
• rrcolor on paper. • 
Estate or' Mark Rochko 

j > ■ j jar^sf " '*■*■■ 


e* i 

* % 

i9 Untitled. 1944-45 

Watercolor on paper, 20% x 28'/i" 
Estare ot Mark Korhko 

50. Untitled. 1945-46 

Watercolor on paper, 39% x 26 3 /s" 
Estate of Mark Rothko 

5 1 Untitled. 1945-46 

Watercolor on paper, 22 x 15VV' 
Estate of Mark Rothko 

52. Vessels of Magic. 1946 

Watercolor on paper, 38% x 25W 
Collection The Brooklyn Museum 

53. Untitled. 1946 

Oil on canvas, 38'/ 2 x 54'/ 4 
Courtesy The Pace Gallery 

54. Figure in Archaic Sea. 1946 
Oil on canvas, 54!/* x W>/&" 
Estate of Mark Rothko 

^^mt °^' , *^^1mP^3I 

55. Horizontal Vision. 1946 

Oil on canvas, 387s x 54 V$" 
Lent anonymously 

56. Personage Two. 1946 

Oil on canvas, 55 3 4 x 32" 
Estate of Mark Rothko 


57. The Source. 1945-46 

Oil on canvas, 39'4 x 27 3 4" 
Estate of Matk Rothko 

58 Untitled. 1945-46 

Oil on canvas, 31'/2 x 3914" 
Courtesy The Pace Gallery 

59. Aquatic Drama. 1946 
Oil on canvas, 36 x 48" 
Courtesy The Pace Gallery 

60. Prehistoric Memory. 1946 
Pastel on paper, 25% x 19%" 
Collection Steingrim Laursen, Copenhagen 

61. Untitled. 1946 

Watercolor on paper, 38% x 25'/2" 
Collection Mr. and Mrs. Donald Blinken 

62. Untitled. 1945 

Oil on canvas, 22 x 30" 
Courtesy The Pace Gallery 





mjL/t .t^ jBP'^ • ■ . * * 


i'vr ill W* 

i r 





A '"^ '^ 




63. Slow Swirl at the Edge of the Sea. 1944 
Oil on canvas, 75 x 8454" 
Estate ot Mary Alice Rothko 

64. Untitled. 1945 

Watercolor on paper, 27 x AOVi" 
Estate of Mark Rothko 

65. Gethsemane. 1945 

Oil on canvas, 54 3 /g x 35H" 
Lent anonymously 

66. Primeval Landscape. 1945 
Oil on canvas, 54% x 35" 
Estate of Mark Rothko 

". ** 








67. Untitled. 1945 

Watercolor on paper, 21% x 30" 
Courtesy The Pace Gallery 

## *•' 


68. Untitled. 1945 

Watercolor on paper, 40Vi x ZlVi" 
Estate of Mark Rothko 

69. Compost! ion. 1946 

Oil on canvas, 27% x 18%" 
Private Collection 

70. Multiform. 1948 

Oil on canvas, 89 x 65" 
Estate of Mark Rothko 

7 1 Untitled. 1946 

Oil on canvas, 39V5 x 54Vi" 
Estate of Mark Rothko 

72. Untitled. 1946 

Oil on canvas, 27% x 38" 
Estate of Mark Rothko 

73. Number 26. 1947 

Oil on canvas, 33 3 4 x 45!4" 
Collection Betty Parsons, New York 

74. Untitled. 1947 

Oil on canvas, 61 x A6V2 
Courtesy The Pace Gallery 

75. Untitle J. n d. 

OH on canvas, 48 x 40" 
Lent anonymously 

76. Untitled, 1947 

Oil on canvas, 39 3 4 x 33" 
Estate of Mark Rothko 

77. Number 18. 1948-49. Oil on canvas, 6lVi x 55 7 /e" 

Collection Vassar College Art Gallery, Poughkeepsie , New York Gift of Mrs John D Rockefeller, III 

78. Untitled. 1947 

Oil on canvas, 54'/2 x 35W 
Estate of Mark Rothko 

79. Untitled. 1947 

Oil on canvas, 38% x 39!4' 
Estate ot Mark Rothko 

80. Untitled. 1947 

Oil on canvas, 61 x 43" 
Estate. of Mark Rothko 

SI. Untitled. 1947 

Oil on canvas, 38V5 x 27 1 .;' 
Estate of Mark Rothko 

32. Untitled. 1947 

Oil on canvas, 47Ms x 35" 
Courtesy The Pace Gallery 

* .* 


83 Multiform. 1948 

Oil on canvas, 53Vs x 46%" 
Courtesy The Pace Gallery 

84. Number 15. 1948 

Oil on canvas, 52 x 29" 
Lent anonymously 

85. Number 24. 1948 

Oil on canvas, 34 x 50! ■ " 

Collection The Museum of Modern Art, New "lurk 

Gilt of the artist 

86 Multiform. 1949 

Oil on canvas, 80 x }9! ," 
Lent anonymously 

_, ■-! 

87. Number 11. 1949 


Oil on canvas, 68 x 43!4" 

Lent anonymously 

88. Number 19. 1949 

Oil on canvas, 68 x 40" 

Collection The Art Institute of Chicago, Anonymous Gift 

89. Untitled. 1949 

Oil on canvas, 98 x 65" 
Courtesy The Pace Gallery 

90. Violet, Black, Orange, Yellow on White and Red. 1949 
Oil on canvas, 81'/2 x 66" 
Estate of Mark Rothko 

91. Number 22. 1949 

Oil on canvas, 1 17 x \01Vg" 

Collection The Museum of Modern Art, New York. 

Gift of the artist 


92. Magenta. Black, Green on Orange. 1949 
Oil on canvas, 85% x 64 1 /5" 
Estate of Mary Alice Rothko 

93. Green, Red on Orange. 1950 
Oil on canvas, 93 x 59" 
Courtesy The Pace Gallery 

94. Untitled, n.d. 

Oil on canvas, 90 x 43%" 
Estate of Mark Rothko 

95. White Center. 1950 

Oil on canvas, 81 x 55V2" 
Private Collection, New York 

96. Untitled. 1951 

Oil on canvas, 93 x 57" 

Collection Mr. and Mrs. Gifford Phillips, New York 

97. Untitled. 1949 

Oil on canvas, 56 x 30!4" 
Courtesy The Pace Gallery 

98. Number 10. 1950 

Oil on canvas, 90% x 57Vs" 

Collection The Museum of Modern Art, New York. 

Gift of Philip Johnson 

99. Number 12. 1951 

Oil on canvas, 57V4 x 52JV 
Estate of Mary Alice Rothko 

100. Number 18. 195 1. Oil on canvas, 8 VA x 67" 

Collection Munson-Williams-Proctor Institute, Utica, New York 


Mi^WMM^Ti ii^m — 


101. Untitled. 1950 

Oil on canvas, 81!4 x 42W 
Lent by Galerie Beyeler, Basel 

102. Green, White, Yellow on Yellow. 
Oil on canvas, 67'/2 x 44W 
Lent anonymously 


103. Black, Pink and Yellow over Orange. 1951-52 
Oil on canvas, 1 16 x 92W 
Collection Graham Gund 

104. Number 10. 1952 

Oil on canvas, 8IY2 x 4214" 
Collection Mr. and Mrs. Bagley Wright 


105. Number 8. 1952 Oil on canvas, 8OV2 x 68" 

Collection Mr- and Mrs. Burron Tremaine, Meriden, Connecticut 

106. Untitled. 1952 

Oil on canvas, 55% x 30%" 
Lent anonymously 

107. Homage to Matisse. 1954 
Oil on canvas, 105^ x 5 1" 
Collection McCrory Corporation, New York 

108. Number 61 (Brown, Blue, Brown on Blue). 19' 
Oil on canvas, 1 16V$ x 92" 
Collection Panza di Biumo 

109. Yellow. Black, Orange on Yellow. 1953 
Oil on canvas, 106 x 5 1" 
Lent anonymously 

110 Yellow. Orange. Red on Orange. 1954 
Oil on canvas, 1 1 5 x 90 3 4" 
Lent anonymously 

Ill Untitled. 1953 

Oil on canvas, IGV2 x 6IV2" 
Lent anonymously 

112. Untitled. 1953 

Oil on canvas, 74 x 61" 

Collection Mr. and Mrs. Roberr Kardon 

113. White, Yellow, Red on Yellow. 
Oil on canvas, 90% x 7 1" 
Courtesy The Pace Gallery 


114. Orange, Gold and Black. 1955 
Oil on canvas, 89'/2 x 3854" 
Collection Honorable and Mrs. Irwin D. Davidson 

115. Blue, Yellow, Green on Red. 1954 
Oil on canvas, 77% x 65V6" 
Collection Mr. and Mrs. Oscar Kolin 

16. Light, Earth and Blue. 1954 
Oil on canvas, 76 x 67" 
Private Collection 

117. Number 20}. 1954 

Oil on canvas, 84 x 68" 
Estate of Mary Alice Rothko 

118 Ochre and Red on Red. 1954 
Oil on canvas, 90 x 69" 
The Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C. 

119. Untitled. 1954 

Oil on canvas, 93 x 56'4" 
Private Collection 

120. Untitled. 1954 

Oil on canvas, 93% x 56!4" 

Collection Museum of Art, 

Rhode Island School of Design, 

Providence. Purchased in honor of Daniel Robbins 

121. White Band (Number 27). 1954 
Oil on canvas, 86Vs x 8 1" 
Collection Mr. and Mrs. Ben Heller, New York 

122. Untitled. 1955 

Oil on canvas, 91 '-4 x 69" 
Collection Graham Gund 

123 Three Reds. 1955 

Oil on canvas, 68 x 38>/:>" 

Collection Mr. and Mrs- Donald Blinken 

124. Yellow, Blue on Orange. 1955 
Oil on canvas, 102!^ x 66W 
Collection Museum of Art, Carnegie Institute, Pittsburgh 

125. Blue over Orange. 1956 
Oil on canvas, 86 x 79" 
Collection Mr. and Mrs Donald Blinken 

126. Number 2. 1954 

Oil on canvas, 1 13V2 x 68'/4" 

Collection Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art 

127. Blue Cloud. 1956 

Oil on canvas, 54'/2 x 53" 

Lent by Gimpel & Hanover Galene, Zurich 

128. Blackish Green Tone on Blue. 1957 
Oil on canvas, 103 x 1 16H" 
Estate of Mark Rothko 

129. Violet and Yellow on Rose. 1954 
Oil on canvas, 84 x 67 3 4" 
Collection Panza di Biumo 

130. Green, Red, Blue. 1955 

Oil on canvas, 8 Wi x 77%" 
Collection Milwaukee Arc Center. 
From the Collection of 
Mrs. Harry Lynde Bradley 

131. Green and Tangerine on Red. 1956 
Oil on canvas, 93'/2 x 69W" 
The Phillips Collection, Washington, DC. 

132. Orange and Yellow. 1956 
Oil on canvas, 91x71" 
Collection Albright-Knox Art Gallery, 
Buffalo, New York, Gift of Seymour H. Knox 

133. Untitled. 1955 

Oil on canvas, 53% x 2714" 
Estate of Mark Rothko 

134. Untitled. 1956 

Oil on canvas, 79% x 69" 

Collection Mr. and Mrs. Lee V. Eastman 

135. Red and Pink on Pink. 1953 

Tempera on paper, 39Vs x 2554" 
Courtesy The Pace Gallery 

136. White Cloud. 1956 

Oil on canvas, 66V2 x 621/2" 
Private Collection 

137. Black, Ochre, Red over Red. 1957 
Oil on canvas, 100 x 82'4" 
Collection Panza di Biumo, 

138. Brown, Black on Maroon. 1957 
Oil on canvas, 91Vi x 76" 
Estate of Mark Rothko 

139. Four Reds. 1957 

Oil on canvas, 81 x 50" 

Collection Mr. and Mrs. Daniel Schwartz 

140. Untitled. 1957 

Oil on canvas, 19Yi x 69V3" 
Frederick Weisman Family Collection 

Untitled. 1957 

Oil on canvas, 79V? x 69%" 

Private Collection, Zurich 

142. Untitled (Number 7). 1957 
Oil on canvas, 69Y2 x 44" 
Estate of Mary Alice Rothko 

143. Untitled. 1955-56 

Oil on canvas, 64 x 58" 

Collection Gerald S. Elliott, Chicago 

44. Yellow and Gold. 1956 

Oil on canvas, 61Vs x 62%" 

Collection The Museum of Modern Art, New Yotk. 

Gift of Philip Johnson 

145. Brown and Black m Reds. 1958 
Oil on canvas, 91'/i x 60" 
Collection Joseph E.& Seagram Sons, Inc. 

146. Number 16. 1958 

Oil on canvas, 79% x 69" 
Estate of Mary Alice Rothko 

147. Yellow over Purple, 1956 

Oil on canvas, 69 1 /: x 59 l 4" 
Morton Neumann Family Collection 

148. Saffron. 1957 

Oil on canvas, 69!4 x 53'/i" 

Collection Mr. and Mrs. Ralph I. Goldenberg, Chicago 

149. Number 9. 1958 

Oil on canvas, 101 x 82" 

Collection Mr and Mrs. Donald Bhnken 

150. Black, Maroons and While. 1958 
Oil on canvas, 105 x 166" 
Collection Mr. and Mrs. Ben Heller, New York 

1 "> I Light Cloud. Dark Cloud. 1957 
Oil on canvas, 66-H x 62Vi" 
Collection The Fort Worth Art Museum , Benjamin J Ti liar Trust Fund 

52. Red, Brown and Black. 1958 
Oil on canvas, 106% x 11714" 

Collection The Museum of Modern Art, New York. 
Mrs. Simon Guggenheim Fund 


153. White, Red on Yellow. 1958 
Oil on canvas, 95 x 81 l /2" 
Lent anonymously 

154. Untitled. 1961 

Oil on canvas, 105 x 83" 

Collection Arnold and Milly Glimcher, New York 

155. Reds, Number 16. 1960 

Oil on canvas, 102 x 119'/i" 
Collection The Metropolitan Museum ot Art, 
New York, Purchase, Arthur A. Hearn Fund, 
George A. Hearn Fund, Hugo Kastor Fund, 1971 

156. Untitled. 1960 

Oil on canvas, 92% x 81" 

Collection The Toledo Museum of Art. 

Gift of Edward Drummond Libbey 

157. Untitled. 1959 

Acrylic on paper, 38V6 x 25" 
Estate of Mary Alice Rothko 

158. Untitled. 1959 

Acrylic on paper, 38 x 25" 
Estate of Mary Alice Rothko 

159 Untitled. 1960 

Oil on paper mounted on canvas, 25'/2 x 19V5 
Collection Mr and Mrs. Lee V. Eastman 

160. Greyed Olive Green, Red on Maroon. 1961 
Oil on canvas, 10156 x 89!/2" 
Lent anonymously 

161. Number 101. 1961 

Oil on canvas, 79 x 81" 

Collection Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Pulitzer, Jr. 

162. Number 117. 1961 

Oil on canvas, 93 x 81" 

Collection Mr. and Mrs. Donald Blinken 



163. Number 118. 1961 

Oil on canvas, 115 x 102'/2" 

Collection Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westtalen, Dusseldorf 

164. Number 207 (Red over Dark Blue on Dark Grey). 1961 
Oil on canvas, 92V 4 x 81V 8 " 
Collection University Art Museum, 
University of California, Berkeley 

165 . Orange and Lilac over Ivory, n . d . 
Oil on canvas, 1 16 x 94" 

Collection Dartmouth College Museum and Galleries, 
Hanover, New Hampshire 

166. Orange, Wine, Grey on Plum. 1961 
Oil on canvas, lOAVi x 92V2" 
Lent anonymously 

167. Painting. 1961 

Oil on canvas, 93 x 80" 

Collection The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston 

168. Untitled. 1961 

Oil on canvas, 69 x 50" 

Collection Mr. and Mrs. Lee V. Eastman 

169. Untitled. 1961 

Oil on canvas, 92 l /2 x 8 1 Vi 
Courtesy The Pace Gallery 

170. Blue and Grey. 1962 

Oil on canvas, 79V4 x 69" 

Frederick Weisman Family Collection 

171. Number 1, White and Red. 1962 
Oil on canvas, 102 x 90" 
Collection Art Gallery of Ontario; 
gift from the Women's Committee Fund, 1962 

172. Number 28. 1962 

Oil on canvas, 81 x 76%" 
Estate of Mary Alice Rothko 

173. Number 212. 1962 

Oil on canvas, 69% x 62" 
Estate of Mary Alice Rothko 

174. Red, Orange, Orange on Red. 1962 
Oil on canvas, 92 x 80'/ 2 " 
Collection The St. Louis Art Museum 
Purchase: funds given by 
the Shoenberg Foundation 

175-177. Triptych from Harvard Murats. 1962 

Oil on canvas, left panel 104 7 /s x 1 17"; central panel 104% x ISO 1 //'; right panel 104ys x 96" 
Courtesy of the President and Fellows of Harvard College 

178. Rust. Blacks on Plum. 1962 
Oil on canvas, 60 x 57" 
Courtesy The Pace Gallery 

179- Dark Grey Tone on Maroon. 1963 
Oil on canvas, 134 x 72" 
Estate of Mark Rothko 

180. Black on Dark Maroon. 1964 
Oil on canvas, 97 x 76" 
Lent anonymously 

181. Brown, Green, Green-Grey on Deep Brown . ca. 1965 
Oil on canvas, 93H x 8II/2" 
Collection Carter Burden, New York 

182. Untitled. 1963 

Oil on canvas, 69 x 90" 

Collection Mr. and Mrs. Richard E Lang, 

Medina, Washington 

183. Untttled. 1964 

Oil on canvas, 81 x 69" 

Collection Barbara and Donald Jonas 


184. Green, Black, Green. 1966 
Oil on canvas, 82 x 70" 
Collection Dr. Paul Todd Makler 

185. Red. 1968 

Oil on paper mounted on canvas, 33 x 25W 
Collection Mrs. Hannelore Schulhof 

186. Untitled. 1967 

Oil on canvas, 81 x 76" 
Private Collection 

187. Untitled. 1968 

Acrylic on paper, 29 x 22" 
Estate of Mary Alice Rothko 

Untitled. 1968 

Acrylic on paper, 32 7 /s x 25" 

Estate of Mark Rothko 

189. Untitled. 1968 

Acrylic on paper, 40V2 x 21" 
Estate of Mark Rothko 

190. Black on Grey. 1969 

Acrylic on canvas, 81W x 93 l 4" 
Estate of Mark Rothko 

191. Brown and Grey. 1969 

Acrylic on paper, 72 x 48" 
Estate of Mark Rothko 

192 Untitled. 1968 

Acrylic on paper, 58% x 29%" 
Estate of Mark Rothko 

193. Untitled. 1968 

Acrylic on paper, 597s x 42} 
Lent anonymously 

194. Brown and Grey. 1969 

Acrylic on paper, 60!4 x 48 l 4" 
Estate of Mark Rorhko 

195. Broun and Grey. 1969 

Acrylic on paper, 62 x 48Vs" 
Lent anonymously 

"■ -._ ■ 

196. Untitled. 1968 

Acrylic on paper, 60 x 42'4" 
Lent anonymously 

197. Untitled. 1968 

Acrylic on paper, 33% x l^Va" 
Lent anonymously 


198. Black on Grey. 1970 

Acrylic on canvas, 80'4 x 69" 
Lent anonymously 

Downtown Portland, ca. 1915—20 

Yale, ca. 1921-23 


Rothko and Max Naimark, Yale 1921 


September 25 



August 5 

August 17 

March 27 

Marcus born in Dvinsk, Russia, to Jacob, a 
pharmacist, and Anna Goldin Rothkowitz. 
Youngest of four children: sister, Sonia, four- 
teen, brothers, Moise and Albert, eleven and 
eight respectively, at time of birth. 

Attends Hebrew school, studies scriptures and 

Jacob emigrates to United States, arrives Ellis 
Island. Travels to Portland, Oregon, where his 
brother, Samuel Weinstein, settled earlier. 

Albert and Moise arrive Portland, passage ar- 
ranged by father. 

Marcus, morher and sister depart Libau, Russia, 
aboard S.S. Czar. Travel second-cabin. 

Arrive New York, able to speak only Russian 
and Yiddish. 

To New Haven; stay ten days with Weinstein 
cousins, proceed by rrain to Portland. Live at 
538 Second Street, in Jewish neighborhood, 
southwest Portland. 

Mother takes name Kate. 

Jacob dies. 

Sonia, Alberr and Moise go to work at New York 
Outfitting Company, Weinstein family mens' 
clothing business. Marcus becomes delivery 
boy, takes newspaper route. 

1913-1921 Attends Shattuck Grade School and Lincoln 

High School. Completes high school in three 
years. Interested in literarure, social studies, 
labor and radical causes. Loves music, plays 
mandolin, later piano. During high school, 
studies drawing at local art school, works in 
shipping department of Weinstein business. 

1921—1923 Attends Yale University, New Haven, with 

Portland friends, also Russian emigtants, Aaron 
Harry Director and Max Naimark. Their scho- 
larships cancelled after one year. Takes English, 
French, history, mathematics (in which he ex- 
cels), physics, biology, economics and 
philosophy. Sketches often. Works at Yale stu- 
dent laundry and two cleaners. 

Freshman year rooms with Naimark at 820 
Howard Avenue, New Haven, home and office 
of Dr. Herman W. Grodzinski. Takes meals at 
Yale Commons, Lawrence Hall. 

Sophomore year, with Director and another 
classmate, Simon Whitney, publishes short- 
lived weekly pamphlet The Yale Saturday Eve- 
ning Pest. Progressive tone unusual for Yale at 
this time. 

In 1922-23 lives at 161 Lawtence Hall, Yale 
University, with Director and another student. 

Takes meals at Weinstein family home, 5 10 
Howard Avenue. 

Leaves Yale without receiving degree. 

Moves to New York; takes odd jobs including 
work in garment district and as bookkeeper for 










Late 1920's 


November 15- 
December 12 

uncle, Samuel Nichtberger, C.P.A. and tax 

Begins taking anatomy courses with George 
Bridgman at Art Students League, New York. 

Address on application is c/o Mrs. Goreff, 19 
West 102nd Street. Uses this address until 

Returns briefly to Pottland, |oins acting com- 
pany there run by Josephine Dillon. 

Addresses in Portland are: #C, Parkhurst 
Apartments, 635 Northrop Street and c/o 
Weinstein Brothers, Morgan Building. 

Moves back to New York, which remains his 
home until his death. 

Paints in Max Weber's class at Art Students 
League; studies still life and figure. 

Meets Louis Harris in Weber's class. 

Student work is in realist style; does urban 
scenes, still lites and landscape. 

Clyfford Still visits New York for first time; 
returns to Spokane, Washington, three months 

Milton Avery moves to New York. 

Continues studies at Art Students League with 

Influenced by Weber, experiments with expres- 
sionist style. 

Becomes member ot Art Students League, re- 
mains such until 1929. thereby entitled to take 
certain courses and vote on issues. (To qualify as 
member, student must be enrolled at League at 
least three months.) 

Marcel Duchamp's Large Glass shown publicly 
for first time in Internationa/ Exhibition at The 
Brooklyn Museum, New York. 

Draws maps for popularized biblical history 
book. The Graphic Bible, by Lewis Browne, re- 
tired Portland rabbi. Not credited for draw- 
ings, presses unsuccessful suit against Browne 
and Macmillan, publisher, for $20,000 and 
share of royalties. 

Opportunity Galleries, New York. First group 
exhibition. Organized by Bernard Karfiol who 
chooses several of Rothkowitz's paintings. 
Other participants include Avery, Louis G. 
Ferstadt, Gela Forster, R. W. Gerbino, Harris, 
Olive Riley. 


November 8 

ca. 1929-1930 

November 18 


January 9—29 

July 2 


November 10 

ca. 1932-1933 



November 2 1- 
December 9 

Sally. Avery's style important to his develop- 

Clyfford Still in New York again; studies with 
Vaclav Vytlacil at Art Students League. 

The Museum of Modern Art, New York, opens. 

Begins teaching art to children part-time at 
Center Academy, Brooklyn Jewish Center. 
Keeps position until 1952. 

Lives at 23 1 East 25th Street. 

Meets Adolph Gottlieb. 

Continues to work in expressionist style; paints 
cityscapes, nudes, figure studies, domestic 

Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, 

Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford, Newer 
Super-Realism. First ma|or Surrealist exhibition 
in United States. 

Julien Levy Gallery, New York, Surrealist Group 
Show. Exhibition previously shown at 
Wadsworth Atheneum. 

While camping with Nathaniel Dirk at Hearth- 
stone Camping Grounds, Lake George, New 
York, meets Edith Sachar. 

Vacations with Averys and Gottliebs at Cape 
Ann, Massachusetts; does so again in 1934, 
1935, 1936. 

Marries Edith Sachar, who makes costume 
jewelry to help sustain them. 

Address is 137 West 72nd Street. 

Meets David Smith. 

Museum of Art, Portland, Oregon. First one- 
man exhibition. Shows drawings and water- 
colors with work of his students from Center 

Contemporary Arts Gallery, New York, An 
Exhibition of Paintings by Marcus Rothkowitz. 
First one-man exhibition in New York. Shows 
Nude. Man Smoking. Portland. Riverside Drive. 
among other oils, watercolors and drawings. 

Hans Hofmann opens art school in New York. 

Josef Albers becomes head of art department at 
Black Mountain College, Black Mountain, 
North Carolina. 

Becomes close friends with Avery and his wife 


Meets Joseph Solman ?t Avery's studio. 

May 22- 
June 12 

June 12- 
July 2 

August 14- 
September 17 


November 2 1- 
December 10 

December 15 



December 15- 
January 15 


January 10- 
February 9 

January 15- 
February 5 


Uptown Gallery, New York, Paintings by 
Selected Young Americans. Rothkowitz shows 
Sculptress, Woman and Cat, Lesson. 

Uptown Gallery, New York, Group Exhibition. 
Rothkowitz shows The Pugilist. 

Uptown Gallery, New York, Group Exhibition. 
Rothkowitz shows Mother and Child, The Sewing 

Artists' Union fotmed in New York, with local 
chapters elsewhere, to agitate for creation of art 
projects for the unemployed. Rothkowitz 
among 200 members at inauguration. Similar 
organizations founded around same time are Ar- 
tists' Committee of Action and Art Students' 
Council in New York. 

Art Front begins publication, continues until 
December 1937. Sponsored jointly by Artists' 
Union and Artists' Committee of Action, edited 
by Stuart Davis. Becomes official organ of Ar- 
tists' Union, advocates community involvement 
in arts, debates majot aesthetic issues, reviews 
current exhibitions. 

Julien Levy Gallery, New York, Paintings by 
Salvador Dali. Dali makes first visit to United 
States on this occasion. 

Robert Godsoe opens Gallery Secession. Mem- 
bers include Ben-Zion, Ilya Bolotowsky, 
Gottlieb (probably brought to gallery by Harris 
and Rothko), Harris, Yankel Kufeld, 
Rothkowitz, Louis Schanker, Solman and 
Nahum Tschacbasov. 

Julien Levy Gallery, New York. Abstract 
Sculpture by Alberto Giacometti. First one-man 
exhibition in United States. 

Gallery Secession, New York, Group Exhibi- 
tion. Rothkowitz shows Duet. 

Pierre Matisse Gallery, New York, Joan Miro 

Gallery Secession, New York, Group Exhibi- 
tion. Rothkowitz shows Nude. 

Above-mentioned membets of Gallery Secession 
leave to form The Ten: group of independents has 
no declared program, but majority of members 
paint representationally in loose, flat manner yet 
are sympathic to abstract art,- admire Expres- 
sionism. They protest conservative policies of 
art establishment; meet once a month at one 
another's studios. Group seldom numbers more 
than nine and is commonly referred to as "The 
Ten Who are Nine." 

Works Progress Adminisrration, Federal Art 
Project established, Holger Cahill, Director. 


Decembet 16- 
January 4 

January 7-18 

February 14 


November 10-24 

Most extensive of government-supported art 
programs during Depression. Consists of easel 
division, mural division, graphic division, 
sculpture division and supports creation of 
Index of American Design. 

Pierre Matisse Gallery, New York [Andre Mas- 

James Thrall Soby, After Picasso, published. 
First book primarily devoted to Surrealism to 
appear in United States. 

Meets wtiter H. R. Hays. 

Gottlieb begins to collect primitive art; 
Rothkowitz interested in archaic art of Aegean, 
African sculpture, art of Nineveh, Egypt and 
Mesopotamia but does not collect. 

Montross Gallery, New York. The Ten. Group's 
first exhibition. Each of nine artists shows four 
paintings. Rothkowitz shows Woman Sewing 
(fig. 16, p. 32), Subway. 

Municipal Art Galleries, New York, The Ten. 
Group forms section of inaugural exhibition of 
Galleries. Joined for this show by Gottlieb's 
ftiend Edgar Levy. Rothkowitz shows Crucifix- 
ion (fig. 15, p. 32), The Sea, Portrait. Before 
opening, TheTen, several other artists threaten 
to withdtaw work and picket unless Galleries 
tescind its Alien Clause, which stipulates that 
only citizens can exhibit there. 

American Artists Congress holds inaugural 
session this Friday evening. It is "Fot Peace, 
For Democracy, For Cultural Progress. 1 ' 
Rothkowitz belongs to this group. 

Meets Annalee and Barnett Newman at break- 
fast given for them shortly after their marriage 
by Gottliebs; may have known Batnett previ- 

American Abstract Artists founded 

;n New 


September 1 1- 
May 15 

Galerie Bonaparte, Paris, TheTen. Group's only 
exhibition in Europe. Organized by Joseph 
Brummer. Pamphlet with text by Waldemar- 
George, who comments on Rothkowitz, nostal- 
gia for Italian Trecento. Rothkowitz shows 
Subway Scene, Crucifixion (fig. 15, p. 32), 
Woman Sewing (fig. 16, p. 32). 

Julien Levy publishes anthology, Surrealism, in 
New York. 

Lives at 313 East 6th Street from now until 

Employed by easel division of WPA in New 


December 9- 
January 17 

December 14- 
January 2 



April 26- 


February 2 1 
May 5-21 

May 9-21 


York; produces painrings for federal buildings 
Earns $95.44 for sixty hours work per month. 

Others on WPA at this time are William 
Baziotes, Arshile Gorky, Philip Guston, 
Willem de Kooning, Jackson Pollock, Ad 
Reinhardt, Jack Tworkov. 

The Museum of Modern Art, New York, Fan- 
tastic Art, Dada. Surrealism. Organized by 
Alfred H. Barr, Jr. 

Montross Gallery, New York, The Ten. Group 
loined for this show by Lee Gatch. Tschacbasov 
no longer member. Rothkowitz shows Interior. 
Music, among others. 

Effect of Surrealism begins to be felt in New 
York art circles, automatic techniques will pro- 
foundly influence development of American art. 

Passedoit Gallery, New York, The Ten. Mem- 
bers include Ben-Zion, Bolotowsky, Gatch, 
Gottlieb, Harris, Kufeld, Rothkowitz, 
Schanker and Solman. 

Gottlieb moves to desert near Tucson, where he 
remains until 1939 

John Graham's System and Dialectics of Art pub- 
lished in New York. 

Artists' Union joins CIO as Local 60. 

Becomes United States citizen. 

Second Annual Membership Exhibition: American 
Artists Congress Inc.. New York. Rothkowitz 
shows Street Scene (fig. 17, p. 32 ) in Painting 

Passedoit Gallery, New York, The Ten. Group is 
now Ben-Zion, Bolotowsky, Gottlieb, Graham, 
Harris, Ralph Rosenborg, Rorhkowitz, 
Schanker and Solman. Joined for this show by 
Karl Knaths. 

Mercury Galleries, New York, The Ten: Whit- 
ney Dissenters. Group mounts exhibition as pro- 
test against Whitney's bias towards Re- 
gionalism and American Scene painting; joined 
for this show by Earl Kerkam. Rothkowitz 
shows Conversation . 

Experiments with automatic drawing. Deeply 
interested in Oedipus myth. (Dore Ashton, The 
New York School: A Cultural Reckoning. New 
York, 1973, p. 98). Paints Subway Scene. An- 
tigone (cat. nos. 22, 23) Interest in theater and 
early reading of Nietzsche's The Birth of Trag- 
edy, perhaps influence a number of painrings of 
1939-40 on mythological and dramatic themes. 
(William C. Seitz, Abstract-Expressionist Paint- 
ing in America: An Interpretation Based on the Work 

June 1 

October 23- 
November 4 





January 8-27 

April 16- 
May 7 


May 10 

June 20- 



and Thought of Six Key Figures, unpublished 
Ph.D. dissertation, Princeton University, 
1955, pp. 20-21.) 

Museum ot Non-Ob|ective Painting opens in 
New York, renamed The Solomon R. Guggen- 
heim Museum in 1952. 

Bonestell Gallery, New York, The Ten. Group 
joined for this show by David Burliuk. 

Yves Tanguy arrives in New York. 

Marra moves to New York, where he remains 
until 1948. 

Perls Galleries, New York [Wifredo Lam]. 

The Museum of Modern Art, New York, 
Picasso: Forty Years of His Art. 

The Ten breaks up because members begin to 
show individually at various galleries. 

Neumann-Willard Gallery, New York. New 
Work by Marcel Gromaire. Mark Rothko. Joseph 
Solman. Rothko shows Entrance to Subway. Con- 
templation. The Party, among others. First ap- 
pearance of name Mark Rothko in announce- 
ment for rhis show; hereafter consistently uses 
this name in exhibitions, usually signs work 
Mark Rothko, although does not change name 
legally until 1959. 

Julien Levy Galley, New York, Matta. First 
exhibition in New York. 

Signs statement with Avery, Bolotowsky, Jose 
De Creeft, Gottlieb, Harris, Manfred Schwartz, 
among others, declaring secession from Ameri- 
can Artists' Congress, because of irs sancrion of 
Russian invasion of Finland. 

Federation of Modern Painters and Sculptors 
founded in New York by group that broke from 
American Artists' Congress. Among its mem- 
bers are: Avery, Baziotes, Bolotowsky, 
Gottlieb, Gatch, George L. K. Morns, Rothko, 
Schwartz, David Smith, Solman, Joseph Stella, 
Bradley Walker Tomlin, Ossip Zadkine. 
Rothko very active on Federation's Cultural 
Committee, which is concerned with politics as 
well as culture. 

Rorunda of the American Art Today Building, 
New York World's Fair. Federation exhibits for 
first time. 

Fitst issue of View. Surrealist magazine, 
founded by Charles Henri Ford, published until 

Piet Mondnan arrives in New York, remains 
until his death in 1944. 

March 9-23 





January 5-26 


March 3-28 




October 14- 

November 7 

Riverside Museum, New York, first annual 
Federation exhibition. Rothko shows Portrait of 
Mary, Craftsman, Underground Fantasy, Subway. 
Other participants include: Avety, Bolotowsky, 
George Constant, Morris Davidson, Gottlieb, 
Graham, Harris, Schwartz, Tomlin. 

Max Ernst emigrates to United States; marries 
Peggy Guggenheim in September After brief 
stay in New York travels across country. Re- 
mains in America until 1953. 

Special issue of View devoted to Sutrealism. 

Andre Breton emigrates to United States. 

Andre Masson arrives in New York, where he 
continues to work until 1946. 

Addtess at this time is 29 East 28th Street. 

The Museum of Modern Art, New York, 2 
Exhibitions: Paintings, Drawings, Prints — -Joan 
Miro, Salvador Dali. 

Works closely with Gottlieb developing aesthe- 
tic based on interest in Graeco-Roman and 
Christian myth. Rothko's mythological paint- 
ings are stratified in composition, sometimes 
divided into sharply differentiated registers. 
Irrationally juxtaposed images disposed in 
orderly, geometfic manner, at times segregated 
in zones. Imagery drawn from archaic sculpture, 
Northwest coast Indian art, also architectural 
motifs. Palette ptimatily pastel. 

R. H. Macy Depattment Stote, New York 
[Group Exhibition]. Organized by Samuel 
Kootz. Rothko shows Antigone. 1938 (cat. no. 
23) and Oedipus. Other participants include 
Avery, Gorky, Gottlieb, Graham, Karl Holty, 
Jan Matulka and Geotge L. K. Morris. 

Valentine-Dudensing Gallery, New York [Piet 
Mondrian]. First one-man exhibition in New 

Pierre Matisse Gallery, New York. Artists in 
Exile. Breton, Ernst, Fernand Leger, Masson, 
Matta, Mondrian and Tanguy are among four- 
teen expatriates shown. 

Special issue of View devoted to Ernst. 

Special issue of View devoted to Tanguy. 

First issue of VVV, magazine, founded and 
edited by David Hare with Breton and Ernst 
as editorial advisers. 

451 Madison Avenue, New York, First Papers of 
Surrealism. Participants include Duchamp, Max 
Ernst, Paul Klee, Matta, Miro, Masson, Picasso 
and Tanguy, together with young Ameticans, 

Artists in Exile, photograph taken on the occasion of an 
exhibition at Pierre Matisse Gallery, New York, March 
1942. Bottom row, I. to t.: Matta Echautten, Ossip 
Zadkine, Yves Tanguy, Max Ernst, Marc Chagall, Fernand 
Leger; second row: Andre Breton, Piet Mondtian, Andre 
Masson, Amedee Ozenfant, Jacques Lipchitz, Pavel 
Tchelitchew, Kurt Seligmann, Eugene Berman. Photo by 
Geotge Piatt Lynes 

among whom are Robert Motherwell, Hare and 

Peggy Guggenheim founds gallery. Art ot This 
Century, New York; shows established modern 
artists, unknown Ameticans and her private 
collection of avant-garde art there. Jimmy Ernst 
is secretary. Closes in 1947 when Mrs. 
Guggenheim moves to Venice. 

June 3-26 

June 7 


Introduced to Jimmy Ernst by Baziotes. 

Wildenstein and Co., New York, third annual 
Federation exhibition. Rothko shows The Syrian 
Bull, 1943 (cat. no. 28), Gottlieb's Rape of 
Persephone, 1943 (fig. 26, p. 42), is only other 
work with mythological title included. 

With Gottlieb writes to Edward Alden Jewell, 
The New York Times art critic, in response to his 
negative review of Federation exhibition. New- 
man contributes to letter but does not sign it. 
Published in The New York Times, June 13, it 
articulates their commitment to use of simple 
flat shapes, belief in importance of mythic con- 
tent, kinship with primitive art. Rothko gives 
The Syrian Bull, Gottlieb gives Rape of Persephone 
to Newman in appreciation for his collaboration 
on letter. 

Meets Buffie Johnson in Los Angeles; later in 
year in New York she introduces him to Howard 



Mark and Mell Rothko with Clyfford Still, 1945-46 
California, ca. 1946 

October 1 1- 
November 3 

October 13 

November 9-27 

February 8-26 

October 3-2 1 

Putzel, Peggy Guggenheim's assistant from 

The 460 Park Avenue Galleries, New York, As 
We See Them. Portraits by Federation members. 
Rothko shows Leda, 1943, Gottlieb shows 

Oedipus . 

Rothko and Gottlieb discuss their aesthetic 
principles and theories on WNYC radio broad- 
cast. Assert their intetest in Jungian and eternal 
symbols, belief in power of myth, importance of 
archaism and of psychological content. 

Our presentation oj these myths , however, must 
he in our own terms, which are at once more 
primitive and more modern than the myths 
themselves— more primitive because we seek the 
primeval and atavistic roots of the idea rather 
than their graceful classical version; more 
modern than the myths themselves because we 
must redescribe their implications through our 
own experience. 

Art of This Century, New York, Jackson Pollock: 
Paintings and Drawings. First one-man exhibi- 

Kootz publishes New Frontiers in American Paint- 
ing. In it he says, if "the ultimate potential of 
Abstraction and Expressionism" were known, 
the future of art could be predicted. 

Address is 165 East 31st Street. 

Artists' Gallery, New York [Ad Reinhardt]. 
First one-man exhibition. 

Art of This Century, New York. Paintings and 
Drawings by Baziotes. First one-man exhibition. 

October 24- 
November 1 1 


December 4-30 


January 9- 
February 4 

Art of This Century, New York, Robert Mother- 
well: Paintings. Papiers Col/es, Drawings. First 
one-rrfan exhibition. 

Sidney Jams, Abstract and Surrealist Art in 
America, published. 

67 Gallery, New York, Forty American Moderns. 
Gallery opened in Fall by Putzel. Participants 
include I. Rice Pereira, Rothko, Kay Sage. 

Peggy Guggenheim represents Rothko on Put- 
zel's advice. 

Meets Max Ernst. 

Geometric curvilinear forms are flattened, jux- 
taposed against indeterminate opaque grounds 
which are sometimes divided into emphatic 
horizontal bands. Continues to use pastel 
palette, with accents ot brighter or deeper color. 
Often works in watercolor from now until 1946. 
For example, Horizontal Procession (Gyrations on 
Four Planes). Poised Elements. Slow Swirl at the 
Edge of the Sea. Birth of Cephalopods. all 1944 (cat. 
nos. 30, 31, 63, 37). 

Meets Mary Alice Beistle (Mell), illustrator of 
children's books, thtough photographer Aaron 

Gottlieb elected head of Federation ot Modern 
Painters and Sculptors, continues as such until 

Art of This Century, New York, Mark Rothko 
Paintings. First one-man exhibition at this gal- 
lery. Shows fifteen paintings including Sacrifice 
oflphigema, 1942, The Syrian Bull. 1943, Birth 



March 13 
March 3 1 


November 27- 
January 10 


January 26- 
March 3 

February 5- 
March 13 

February 12- 
March 7 

March 30 

of Cephalopoda , Poised Elements. Sloiv Swirl at the 
EdgeoftheSea, all 1944(cat. nos. 29. 28, 37, 31, 
63), Omens of Cods and Birds, 1945, Entombment 
I, Entombment 11, both 1946 (cat. nos. 42, 43). 
Works reveal strong affinity to Surrealism, re- 
flecting influence of Miro, Masson and Ernst. 

David Porter Gallery, Washington, D.C., A 
Painting Prophecy — 1950. Porter includes artists 
he feels may be forming a new tendency in 
painting, uniting the romantic and the abstract. 
Participants include Baziotes, Stuart Davis, 
Jimmy Ernst, Gottlieb, Knaths, Pollock, 
Richard Pousette-Dart and Rothko. 

67 Gallery, New York, A Problem for Critics. 
Participants include Gorky, Gottlieb, Hof- 
mann, Pollock and Rothko. Putzel asks critics 
to name the "new metamorphism" and states "I 
believe we see real American painting beginning 
now." (Published in Edward Alden Jewell, 
"Toward Abstract of Away," The New York 
Times, July 1, 1945, Section II, p. 2.) 

Divorce from Edith Sachar granted. 

Marries Mell in Linden, New Jersey. 

Julien Levy Gallery, New York. Arshile Gorky. 

Special issue of View devoted to Duchamp. 

Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, 
Annual Exhibition of Contemporary American 
Painting. Rothko shows Primeval Landscape, 
1945 (cat. no. 66). 

Lives at 22 West 52nd Street. 

Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Philadel- 
phia, The One Hundred and Forty-First Annual 
Exhibition. Rothko shows Landscape, 1945. 

Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, 
Annual Exhibition of Contemporary American 
Sculpture, Watercolors and Drawings. Rothko 
shows Baptismal Scene, 1945. 

Art of This Century, New York, Clyfford Still. 
First one-man exhibition at this gallery. Rothko 
wrires catalogue text which Still later re- 

Robert M. Coates reviewing Hofmann show at 
Mortimer Brandt Gallery, New York, in The 
New Yorker, uses term "abstract expressionism" 
in discussing New York artists: ". . .he is cer- 
tainly one of the most uncompromising rep- 
resentatives of what some people call the 
spatter-and-daub school of painting and I, more 
politely, have christened abstract Expres- 
sionism." Alfred H. Barr, Jr. had employed 
same term in relation to Kandinsky in 1936 in 
his book Cubism and Abstract Art. 

April 22- 
May 4 


August 16- 
September ! 



December 10- 
January 16 

March 3-22 

April 14-26 

Early Summer 

June 23- 
August 1 

Mortimer Brandt Gallery, New York, Mark 
Rothko: Watercolors. Shows Gethsemane. 1945 
(cat. no. 65), Olympian Play. 1945, Tentacles of 
Memory. 1945-46, Geologic Reverie, 1946, 
among others. 

Rents house in East Hampton, Long Island. 

San Francisco Museum of Art. Oils and Water- 
colors by Mark Rothko. Travels in part to Santa 
Barbara. Shows Slow Swirl at the Edge of the Sea, 
Poised Elements, Ritual, Tiresias, Phalanx of the 
Mind, all 1944, Gethsemane, Primeval Landscape, 
both 1945, Prehistoric Memory, 1946 (cat. nos. 
63, 31, 36, 34, 33, 65, 66, 60), among others. 

Visits family in Portland. Spends time in 

Late in year Pollock begins all-over drip paint- 

Still begins teaching at California School of Fine 
Arts, San Francisco; retains position until 1950. 

Figures and grounds begin to merge, forms lose 
definition. Influence of Gorky emerges in 
biomorphic shapes, of Still in abstract color- 
forms which suggest landscape. 

Becomes friendly with Motherwell. 

Address from now until 1954 is 1288 Sixth 

Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, 
Annual Exhibition of Contemporary American 
Painting. Rothko shows Room in Karnak. 

Betty Parsons Gallery, New York. Mark Rothko: 
Recent Paintings. First of five annual one-man 
exhibitions here. Shows Archaic Phantasy, Rites 
ofLilith, both 1945 (cat. nos. 35, 39), [Omens 
of?]Gods and Birds, 1945? .The Source, 1945-46 
(cat. no. 57), Entombment , 1946, Astral Image, 
ca. 1946, Room in Karnak , Votive Figure, among 

Betty Parsons Gallery. Clyfford Still: Recent 

While in New York, Still proposes to Douglas 
MacAgy and Rothko the creation of school for 
young artists taught by contemporary artists. 
School ultimately realized as The Subjects of the 

Visits family in Portland before proceeding to 
teaching job. 

Guest Instructor at California School of Fine 
Arts, San Francisco. Teaches ten hours a week: 
painting course restricted to artists and ad- 
vanced students; contemporary art lecture 


September 9-2 7 




December 6- 
January 25 



January 3 1- 
March 21 

March 8-27 


Remains in San Frar isco until end of August, 
lives at 2500 Leave -.orth Street. 

Wildenstein and o Inc., New York, seventh 
annual Federati :i exhibition. Rothko, who does 
not particip.! e, sponsors Still as guest of 
membet. St- shows Apostate. 

With Mar ( arreno, Herbert Ferber, Gottlieb, 
Boris Margo, Newman, Felipe Orlando, 
Theodoros Stamos, John Stephan and Hedda 
Sterne, contributes sratement to The Tiger's Eye, 
general cultural magazine published from Oc- 
tober 1947 until 1949, edited by Ruth Stephan, 
art editor John Stephan. Newman is an editor on 
second, third issues. 

Literary references and symbols, organic forms, 
automatic calligraphy largely disappear from 
work. Diffuse, rectangular patches of color, dis- 
posed vertically and horizontally, float in am- 
biguous space. Larger formats made of unsized 
duck used. Re|ects watercolor for oils, which he 
applies in thin washes. For example. Untitled. 
Number 26. both 1947 (cat. nos. 74, 73). Begins 
to number some of his paintings 

Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, 
Annual Exhibition of Contemporary American 
Painting. Rothko shows Archan Phantasy, 1945 
(cat. no. 35). 

First and only issue of Possibilities appears 
Editors are: Motherwell, art; Harold Rosen- 
berg, writing; Pierre Chareau, architecture; 
John Cage, music. First magazine to deal exclu- 
sively with contemporary American art. It is 
published as first generation of Abstract Expres- 
sionists were abandoning Surrealist-inspired 
imagery and formulating their marure styles. 
Includes statement by Rothko. 

Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, 
Annual Exhibition of Contemporary American 
Sculpture, Watercolors and Drawings. Rothko 
shows Fantasy. 

Betty Parsons Gallery, New York, Mark Rothko: 
Recent Paintings. Shows Poised Elements. 1944, 
Phalanx of the Mind, 1945 (cat. nos. 31, 33), 
Beginnings , Companionship, Dream Imagery, 
among others. 

Still, Baziotes and Motherwell meet in Rothko's 
apartment and discuss creation of a school. 
Still's notes of this meeting read: "A group of 
painters, each visiting the center one afternoon a 
week, each free to teach in whatever way he 
chose or free to stay away, every student free to 
work or remain away, attend every teacher's 
meeting or none." (Published in San Francisco 
Museum of Modern Art, Cly fjord Still. January 
9-March 14, 1976, p. 113.) 

July 21 



March 28- 
Apnl 16 

April 2- 


July 5- 
August 12 

September 15- 
October 3 

Gorky dies by suicide. 

With Baziotes, David Hare and Motherwell, 
founds school. The Sublets of the Artist, at 35 
East 8th Street. Name is Newman's suggestion; 
he |oins faculty second semester. Still partici- 
pates in initial planning stages but does not 
teach, as he returns to position at California 
School of Fine Arts. There are no formal courses 
but a "spontaneous investigation into the sub- 
jects of the modern artist — what his subjects 
are, how they are arrived at, methods of inspira- 
tion and transformation, moral attitudes, pos- 
sibilities for further explorations.. . ." (An- 
nouncement for School, The Subjects of the Artist, 
New York, 1948-49) Approximately fifteen 
students attend school. 

Newman initiates Friday evening lectures open 
to public Some of speakers are Jean Arp, John 
Cage, Joseph Cornell, Gottlieb, de Kooning and 
Reinhardt. Friday evening lectures at Studio 35. 
school started on premises of The Subjects of the 
Artist after it dissolves, and The Club, informal 
Abstract Expressionist group, grow out of this 

In letter to Still, Rothko states that Newman 
proposes to carry on public relations, arrange 
lectures and seminars for The Subjects of the 
Artist. In later letter to Still, writes of being on 
eve of nervous breakdown, says he is withdraw- 
ing from participation in school. (San Francisco 
Museum of Modern Art, Cly fford Still. January 
9-March 14, 1976, p. 113) 

Configurations are simplified, reduced in 
number, colors intensified, canvases increase in 
size. Color and shape assume autonomy as ma- 
ture style begins to emerge. 

Betty Parsons Gallery, New York, Mark Rothko. 
Shows Number 1-10, 23- 

Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, 
Annual Exhibition of Contemporary American 
Sculpture. Watercolors and Drawings. Rothko 
shows Brown and Yellow. 

The Subjects of the Artist fails financially and 

Still recommends to MacAgy that Rothko again 
be invited to teach at California School of Fine 
Arts. He is made Guest Instructor, painting, 
philosophy and practice of painting today, open 
to artists and advanced students only. Also gives 
illustrated lectures on thoughts of contemporary 
artists and their work. 

Samuel M. Kootz Gallery, New York, The ln- 
trasubjectives. Reopening exhibition of gallery 
that had been closed since summer 1948, or- 
ganized by Kootz and Rosenberg. Participants 

November 18 

Winter 1950 

December 16- 
February 5 

January 3-2 1 

January 23- 
February 1 1 

May 20 


November 10- 
December 30 

December 30 


January 1 1- 
February 7 

are Baziotes, de Kooning, Gorky, Gottlieb, 
Graves, Hofmann, Motherwell, Pollock, 
Reinhardt, Rothko, Mark Tobey and Tomlin. 
Name is taken from Jose Ortega y Gasset. 

Gives lecture, My Point of View, as part of series 
of forum talks on Contemporary Art at Studio 

Numbers most works; descriptive titles some- 
times added later. 

Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, 
Annua/ Exhibition of Contemporary American 
Painting. Rothko shows Number 19. 

Mature style crystallizes. Frontal rectangles of 
varying sizes, aligned one above another, fill 
most of canvas. These seem to hovet slightly 
above color field upon which they are juxta- 
posed. Thin washes of pigment saturate canvas; 
colors are disembodied, luminous, intense. For 
example, Magenta. Black. Green on Orange and 
Violet, Black, Orange. Yellow on White and Red. 
both 1949 (cat. nos/92, 90). 

Betty Parsons Gallery, New York, Mark Rothko. 
Shows Number 7 , 10, 11, 14, 15, among others. 

Betty Parsons Gallery, New York, Barnett 
Newman. First one-man exhibition. 

Mother dies. 

Travels in England, France and Italy. 

Open letter to Roland L. Redmond , President of 
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 
from eighteen avant-garde painters and ten 
sculptors, protesting national |uried exhibition 
of contemporary American art, American Paint- 
ing Today 1950. planned for December, which 
they felt would be prejudiced against advanced 
artists. Letter published in entirety in this 
summer's issue of Art News. Signatories include 
Baziotes, James Brooks, Fritz Bultman, Jimmy 
Ernst, Gottlieb, Hofmann, Weldon Kees, de 
Kooning, Rothko. 

Still moves to New York. 

Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, 
Annual Exhibition of Contemporary American 
Painting. Rothko shows Number 7 -A. 

Daughter, Kathy Lynn (Kate), is born. 
Meets Alfred H. Barr, Jr. and Dorothy C. Mil- 

Frank Perls Gallery, Beverly Hills, Seventeen 
Modern American Painters. Catalogue with text, 
"The School of New York," by Motherwell, in 
which he defines the characteristics of this group 

The lrascibles, 1950, photograph by Nina Leen which 
accompanied article in Life, January 15, 1951. Bottom row, 
1. to r.: Theodoros Stamos, Jimmy Ernst, Barnett Newman, 
James Brooks, Mark Rothko; second row: Richard 
Pousette-Dart, William Baziotes, Jackson Pollock, Clyffotd 
Still, Robert Motherwell, Bradley Walker Tomlin; top row; 
Willem de Kooning, Adolph Gottlieb, Ad Reinhatdt, 
Hedda Sterne. ©Time Inc. 

and for first time identifies it in print as "School 
of New York." Participants include Baziotes, 
Gottlieb, de Kooning, Matta, Pollock, Rein- 
hardt, Rothko, Still. 

January 15 "Irascible Group of Advanced Artists Led Fight 

Against Show," Life. Publication with this cap- 
tion of now famous Nina Leen photograph of 
group which, in May 1950, protested jury for 
The Metropolitan Museum of Art's exhibition of 
contemporary American painting (fig. ). 

late January- Studies printmaking for one week in Will Bar- 

early February net's graphics class at Art Students League. 

February 1 Appointed Assistant Ptofessor, Department of 

Design, Brooklyn College. Retains position 


Mark and Mell Rothko, 1948-53 


March 19 

April 2-12 

June 2- 
July 12 

ca. 1951-1952 
March 13 

March 25- 
June 1 1 

Early 1950s 

December 20 

Mark Rothko and daughter, Kate, early I950's 


May 11 


October 18- 
December 3 1 

until June 30, 1954. Teaches contemporary art, 
theory of art, color, elements of drawing, 
graphic workshop. Reinhardt had been teaching 
there since 1947. 

Participates in symposium on How to combine 
architecture, painting and sculpture at The 
Museum of Modern Art, New York. Statement 
reprinted in Interiors, May 1951. 

Betty Parsons Gallery, New York, Mark Rvthko. 
Shows Number 1-16. 

Los Angeles County Museum, 1951 Annual Ex- 
hibition: Contemporary Painting in The United 
States. Rothko shows Number 11. 1951. 

Meets Dore Ash ton 

Meets Sally and William Scharf. 

Rothko invited by Joseph Fiore, Black Moun- 
tain College, Black Mountain, North Carolina, 
to teach painting there from June 25-August 
22. Retuses offer. 

The Museum of Modern Art, New York, Fifteen 
Americans. Organized by Dorothy C. Miller. 
Participants include Baziotes, Herbert Ferber, 
Frederick Kiesler, Pollock, Rothko, Still and 
Tomlin. Rothko and Still refuse to let their work 
travel, causing cancellation of plans to circulate 
exhibition in Europe. 

Writes to Lloyd Goodrich, Associate Director of 
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, 
regarding the acquisition and display of his 
work by museums: 

Since I have a deep sense of responsibility for 
the life my pictures will lead out in the world, 
I will with gratitude accept any form of their 
exposition where their life and meaning can be 
maintained, and avoid all occasions where 1 
feel that this cannot be done. . . .at least in my 
life, I must maintain a congruity between my 
actions and convictions, if I am to continue to 
function and do my work. And I do hope that I 
have here clarified my position . 

First and only issue of Modern Artists in America, 
which deals with abstract art and is edited by 
Motherwell and Reinhardt. 

Clyfford Still teaches graphics at Brooklyn Col- 

Studio at 106 West 53rd Street; continues to 
live on Sixth Avenue. 

Tomlin dies 

The Art Institute of Chicago, Recent Paintings by 
Mark Rothko. Travels in part to Providence, 

Rhode Island. Organized by Katharine Kuh. 
Shows Number 12, 1951, Number 10, 1952 
(cat. nos. 99, 104), Number 1, 1953, Number 1 , 
Number 9. both 1954, among others. 

November 3 Henri Matisse dies. 

From about this time uses both titles and num- 
bers for his paintings, for example Homage to 
Matisse, Light, Earth and Blue, both 1954 (cat. 
nos. 107, 116). 


April 11- 
May 14 


February 20 

August 11 

Clement Greenberg in "American-Type' Paint- 
ing," Partisan Review, discusses origins of 
Abstract Expressionism, noting importance to 
development of this movement of WPA, pre- 
sence of emigre artists in New York during 
World War II, Hofmann and his school and 
early Kandinskys at Museum ot Non-Ob|ective 
Painting. Painters analyzed are Gorky, 
Gottlieb, Hofmann, Kline, de Kooning, 
Motherwell, Newman, Pollock, Rothko, Still, 
Tobey . 

Sidney Janis Gallery, New York. First of two 
one-man exhibitions there. Shows Light. Earth 
and Blue. 1954 (cat. no. 116), Violet Center. 
1954, Earth and Green, 1955, The Ochre. 
Yellow Expanse, among others. 

Teaches for approximately ten weeks at Univer- 
sity of Colorado, Boulder. 

"The Wild Ones," Time, includes discussion of 
Baziotes, Gorky, Gottlieb, Guston, de Koon- 
ing, Motherwell, Pollock and Rothko: 

A cursory study of advance-guard painting 
gives rise to the conclusion that it consists, like 
the Mock Turtle's arithmetic of "Ambition, 
Distraction, Uglifi cation and Derision." It 
is wild, woolly , willful. But nothing has only 
one side, and negatives cannot sum up Ameri- 
ca's newest painting. A good deal can be said 
for its positive qualities , once they have been set 
in the context of modern history. . . . 

Pollock dies in car accident. 

Address is 102 West 54th Street until 1961. 


February- Visiting Artist, Tulane University, New Or- 

March leans. Does not teach specific courses but gives 

series of talks and critiques and consults with 
faculty and students. While there, paints White 
and Greens in Blue and Red. White and Broun; 
he feels these constitute an important break- 
through for him. While at Tulane lives on 
Glendale Boulevard and Iona Street in Metairie, 
suburb of New Orleans. 

April 1-20 Sidney Jams Gallery, New York, 8 Americans. 

Rothko shows The Black and The White, 1956. 

Early 1950s 

Early 1950's 

Mark and Mell Rothko, Provincetown, Massachusetts, 1957 




June 14- 
October 19 





October 22- 
February 23 

In Letter to the Editor ot Art News, Rothko 
refutes Elaine de Kooning's article, "Two 
Americans in Action," Art News Annua/, 1958, 
which labels both Rothko and Kline as "action 

/ reject that aspect of the article which clas- 
sifies my work as "Action Painting." An 
artist herself, the author must know that to 
classify is to embalm. Real identity is incom- 
patible with schools and categories, except by 
mutilation. To allude to my work as Action 
Painting borders on the fantastic . No matter 
what modifications and adjustments are made 
to the meaning of the word action. Action 
Painting is antithetical to the very look and 
spirit of my work. The work must be the final 

Venice, XXIX Esposizione Biennale Internazionale 
d'Arte. Rothko shows Black over Reds, Deep Red 
and Black, Two Whites, Two Reds. White and 
Greens in Blue, all 1957, Reds. 1957-58, among 

Buys cottage at 250 Bradford Street in Province- 
town, Massachusetts. 

Moves studio to 222 Bowery, which had been 
YMCA gymnasium Here starts his first com- 
mission, monumental canvases for Four Seasons 
restaurant, Seagram Building, ordered by Phil- 
ip Johnson Has never before worked in series. 
Employs horizontal formats with verncal ele- 
ments for first time. Restricts palette in each 
panel to two colors. Makes three separate series 
of murals which become progressively darker, 
evolving from -orange to deepest maroon and 
black. First set sold as separate paintings, second 
abandoned; third completed in 1959 but never 
delivered to restaurant, eventually given by 
Rothko to The Tate Gallery, London. 

Legally changes name to Mark Rothko; daugh- 
ter's name legally changed to Kate 

Travels with Mell and Kate to England. France, 
Italy, Belgium and The Netherlands. 

Shortly after trip meers poet Stanley Kunitz. 

Gives lecture at Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, in 
which he disassociates himself from Abstract 
Expressionist movement, discusses his de- 
velopment from figuration to abstraction and 
use of large scale. 

Meets Katharine Kuh when she moves to New 

Begins to work on paper again. 

The Solomon R Guggenheim Museum. New 
York, Guggenheim International Award 1958. 
Miro receives $10,000 International Award for 

May 4-31 



January 18- 
March 12 

October 13- 
December 3 1 


April 21- 
October 2 1 

May 13 

his ceramic wall at UNESCO. Pans; Rothko 
refuses $1,000 United States National Sec- 
tion Award tor White and Greens in Blue. 
1957, and withdraws painting. "I look forward 
to the time when honors can be bestowed, sim- 
ply, for the meaning of a man's life work — 
without enticing pictures into the competitive 
arena," he explains in letter to James Johnson 
Sweeney, Guggenheim Museum's Director 

The Phillips Collection, Washington, DC, 
Paintings by Mark Rothko. Small one-man exhibi- 
tion. Green and Maroon, 1953, Blue and Green. 
1957. Green and Tangerine on Red. 1956 (cat no 
131), Orange and Red on Red, 1957, included. 
Phillips purchases latter two. 

The Phillips Collection opens new wing in 
which small room is designated to display their 
three Rothkos, two acquired in May and Green 
and Maroon , 1953, which had been purchased in 
1957 Ochre and 'Red 'on Red, 1954( 118), 
is acquired in 1964 and added to room. 

Lives at 1 18 East 95th Street 

Accepts invitation to participate in John F. 
Kennedy's inaugural activities 

The Museum ot Modern Art. New York, Mark 
Rothko. Major one-man exhibition Rothko di- 
rects installation. Shows Baptismal Scene. 1945, 
Number 24. 1947, Number 20, 1949, Number 
22, 1949 (cat. no. 91), Number 10. 1953, Hom- 
age to Matisse, 1954 (cat. no. 107), Number 9. 
1958 (cat. no 149), Number 22, 1960, among 
fifty-four works. Circulated into January 1963 
by The International Council ot The Museum of 
Modern Art to London, Amsterdam, Basel, 
Rome, Pans 

The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New 
York, American Abstract Expressionists and Im- 
agisls. Shows Reds Number 22, 1957. 

Begins mural panels commissioned by Professor 
Wassily Leontief, Chairman of the Society of 
Fellows and Henry Lee Professor of Economics, 
Harvard University, and John P. Coolidge, Di- 
rector, Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, Mas- 
sachusetts. These were to be housed in pent- 
house of Holyoke Center, designed by Jose Luis 
Sen but are instead ultimately placed on perma- 
nent view in faculty dining room at Center. 

Seattle Fine Atts Pavilion, Seattle World's Fair. 
Art Since 1950: American and International. 
Travels in part to Waltham, Massachusetts, 

Kline dies. 

Attends state dinner celebrating the arts at 
White House. 


April 9- 
June 2 

June 4 
August 3 1 
October 26 


April 2- 
June 28 


January 7 

March 28 

May 24 
June 14 

July 16- 
Augusr 1 

Meets Dominique and John de Menil. 

Completes Harvard Murals (cat. nos. 175-177). 
New formulation appears: in each of the five 
panels are two or three vertically oriented rect- 
angles linked at top and bottom by hotizontal 
lines and small, loosely brushed rectangles. He 
seeks to turn his "pictorial conceprs into mutals 
which would serve as an image for a public 
place." (Quored in "Rothko Murals for Har- 
vard," College Art Journal, vol. xxii, no. 4, 
Summer 1963, p. 254.) 

The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New 
York, Five Mural Panels Executed for Harvard 
University by Mark Rothko. Panels are shown 
there before they are sent to Cambtidge. 

Baziotes dies. 

Son, Christopher Hall, born. 

Dining room where murals are hung is used for 
the first time for meeting ot ditectors of Harvard 
Alumni Association and Associated Hatvard 

)oins Marlborough-Gerson Gallery, New York. 

Dominique and John de Menil visit Rothko in 
his studio; upon seeing Fout Seasons panels 
there, commission him to make murals for 
chapel in Houston. 

The Tate Gallery, London, Painting and 
Sculpture of a Decade 54-64. Rothko shows 
Light. Earth and Blue. 1954 (cat. no. 116), 
Black in Deep Red. Reds. Number 22. both 1957, 
among others. 

Rents summer cottage in Amagansett, Long Is- 

Selects last studio, converted carriage house at 
157 East 69th Street. Places parachute over 
skylight to keep studio relatively dark. 

Starts wotk on Houston chapel murals. 

Delivers eulogy tor Milton Avety, who died 
January 3, at New York Society tor Ethical Cul- 

Meers Ann and Bernard Malamud at Lyndon 
Johnson's inaugural activities. 

Wins Medal Award of Brandeis Universiry Crea- 
tive Atts Awards. 

David Smith dies in car accident. 

Participates in The White House Festival ot the 
Arts, shows Ochre and Red on Red. 1954 (cat. no. 

Los Angeles County Museum of Aft, The New 
York School: The First Generation. Paintings of the 

Mark Rothko and son, Chtistopher, Summer 1964 


Ca. 1964-66 

Mark Rothko and son, Christopher, August 30-Septembet 
2, 1968, Provincetown, Massachusetts 




October 15- 

November 27 




November 9- 
December 17 


March 27- 
June 9 


May 28 


1940's and 1950's. Rothko shows Number 26, 
1947 (cat. no. 73), Number 24, 1948 (cat. no. 
85), Green on Blue, 1956, White Center, 1957. 

Ray Kelly becomes assistant, remains as such 
until 1968. 

Roy Edwards becomes assistant, remains as such 
until August 1966 

Travels with family to Italy, France, The 
Netherlands, Belgium, London. 

The International Council of The Museum of 
Modern Art organizes Two Decades of American 
Painting. Travels to Tokyo, Kyoto, New Delhi, 
Melbourne, Sydney. Rothko shows Green on 
Blue. 1956, Black Stripe on Red, 1958, Number 
10. 1960-61. 

University of St. Thomas Art Department, 
Houston, Six Painters. Organized by 
Dominique de Menil. Participants are Mond- Kooning, Guston, Kline, Pollock and 
Rothko. Rothko shows Composition, 1945, Ast- 
ral Image, ca. 1946, Green Stripe, 1955, Unti- 
tled, 1960, Untitled. 1963, among others. 

Teaches at University of California, Berkeley, at 
suggestion of Peter Selz. Meets Brian O'Doherty 
and Barbara Novak, who also teach there. 

Stedelijk van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, The 
Netherlands, Kompass III. Travels to Frankfurt. 

Houston murals are basically complete, but 
Rothko continues to make minor changes on 

The Museum of Modern Art, New York, Dada, 
Surrealism, and Their Heritage. Travels to Los 
Angeles, Chicago. Rothko shows Slow Swirl at 
the Edge of the Sea , 1944 (cat. no. 63). 

Suffers from aneurysm of aorta and is hos- 
pitalized for three weeks. Forced to stop work- 

Together with Albers, Federico Castellon, 
Dorothea Greenbaum, William Gropper, 
Gyorgy Kepes, Louise Nevelson and Saul Stein- 
berg is inducted into National Institute of Arts 
and Letters, Department of Art. 

Rents house in Provincetown near Motherwell. 
Resumes work and within weeks does many 
small acrylics on rag paper. Their dimensions 
dictated by size of studio and available paper. 

Starts to employ acrylics; able therefore to use 
water with medium in monumental paintings, 
spreads and soaks colors with wide brushes and 


January 1 

April 1-30 

June 9 


October 16- 
February 1 

Begins to use larger paper; concerned about 
paper pieces' fragility, he mounts them on can- 

Jonathan Ahearn becomes assistant, remains 
as such until February 1969 

Leaves home and moves into East 69th Street 
studio. However, remains in constant touch 
with family. 

Oliver Steindecker becomes assistant, remains 
until Rothko's death. 

Gallery of Art, Washington University, St. 
Louis, The Development of Modernist Painting: 
Jackson Pollock to the Present. Rothko shows 
Number 101. 1961 (cat. no. 161). 

Mark Rothko Foundation incorporated to pro- 
vide financial assistance for older painters, 
sculptors, writers and composers. 

Receives Honorary Degree, Doctor of Fine Arts, 
from Yale University. Kingman Brewster, Pres- 
ident of Yale, says: 

As one of the few artists who can be counted 
among the founders of a new school of Ameri- 
can painting, you have made an enduring 
place for yourself in the art of this cen- 
tury. Your paintings are marked by a simplic- 
ity of form and a magnificence of color. In 
them you have attained a visual and spiritual 
grandeur whose foundation is the tragic vein 
in an human existence. In admiration of your 
influence, which has nourished young artists 
throughout the world, Yale confers upon you 
the degree of Doctor of Fine Arts. (Reprinted 
in Yale University Art Gallery, New Ha- 
ven, Salute to Mark Rothko, May 6-June 
20, 1971.) 

Donates Seagram murals to The Tate Gallery, 
London. Rothko stipulates that the nine can- 
vases are to be placed in a room by themselves 
and are never to be shown with other paintings. 
"It seems to me that the heart of the matter is 
now to give this space you propose the greatest 
eloquence and poignancy of which my pictures 
are capable." (Quoted in Alastair Gordon, "In 
the Galleries: The Rothko Room," The Connois- 
seur, vol. 175, no. 706, December 1970, p. 

The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York 
Painting and Sculpture: The First Generation. Or- 
ganized by Henry Geldzahler. Rothko shows 
Vessels of Magic, 1946, Number 26, 1947, 
Number 10. 1952 (cat. nos. 52, 73, 104, 155), 
Reds, Number 16, 1960. 

Creates black and grey or brown series: canvases 


Ca. 1964 


February 25 

February 28 

May 29 

August 26 


February 27,28 

comprised of two rectangles, black at top, gtey 
or brown at bottom, framed by thin white band. 
They are stark, quiet, remote, somber. 

In studio, during early hours of morning, takes 
own life. 

Buried in cemetery overlooking Shelter Island 

Rothko room at The Tate Gallery, London, 

Mell dies. 

The Rothko Chapel, Houston, dedicated. Orig- 
inally to be Roman Catholic and part of Univer- 
sity of St. Thomas, then interdenominational at 

Rice University, is finally realized as inter- 
denominational chapel affiliated with Institute 
of Religion and Human Development. Octa- 
gonal floor plan designed by Philip Johnson; the 
final design executed under supervision of How- 
ard Barnstone and Eugene Aubrey. 

Murals comprised of thtee triptychs, five single 
panels, four alternatives. Theme is Passion of 

Two triptychs, one single panel composed of 
black hard-edged rectangles on maroon fields. 
One triptych, four single panels entirely black, 
veiled with maroon wash. Varied paint 
thicknesses produce nuances of color. 

Rothko said of these murals: "I was always look- 
ing for something more." (Quoted in Vogue, vol. 
157, no. 5, March 1, 1971, p. 111.) 

Clair Zamoiski 

At Betty Parsons Gallery, New York, 1949 

At Betty Parsons Gallery, New York, 1949 

Exhibitions and Selected Reviews 


/. Group 

Opportunity Galleries, New York [Group 
Exhibition], November 15-December 12, 

Murdock Pemberton.'Mann andOthers," 
Creative Art, vol. iii, no. vi, December 
1928, pp. xlv — xlvi 

Uptown Gallery, Continental Club, New 
York, Paintings by Selected Young Ameri- 
cans, May 22-June 12, 1934 

Uptown Gallery, Continental Club, New 
York, Group Exhibition, June 12-July 2, 


Uptown Gallery, Continental Club, New 
York , Group Exhibition: American Moderns , 
August 14-September 17, 1934 

Gallery Secession, New York, Group Exhibi- 
tion, December 15, 1934-January 15, 

J[ane] S{chwartz], "Exhibitions in New 
York: Gallery Secession," Art Neu : s, vol. 
xxxiii, no. 12, December 12, 1934, p. 12 

Gallery Secession, New York [Group 
Exhibition], January 15-February 5, 1935 

Montross Gallery, New York, The Ten, De- 
cember 16, 1935-January 4, 1936 
"Exhibitions in New York: The Ten," Art 
News, vol. xxxiv, no. 12, December 21, 
1935, p. 8 

Herbert Lawrence, "The Ten," Art Front, 
vol. 2, no. 3, February 1936, p. 12 

Municipal Art Galleries, New York, The 
Ten, January 7-18, 1936 
"A Municipal Adventure," The New York 
Times , January 12, 1936, Section 9, p. 9 
"New York's New Municipal Gallery 

Knows How to Forfend Trouble," The Art 
Digest , vol. x, no. 8, January 15, 1936, p. 6 

Galerie Bonaparte, Paris, The Ten, Novem- 
ber 10-24, 1936. Pamphlet with text 
by Waldemar-George 

Montross Gallery, New York, The Ten, De- 
cember 14, 1936-January 2, 1937 
"The Nine That are Ten,'" The Art Digest, 
vol. xi, no. 6, December 15, 1936, p. 16 
M.D., "A New Group Exhibition of 
Work by The Ten," Art News , vol. xxxv, 
no. 12, December 19. 1936, p. 18 
"Solo Figures and Group Landings," The 
Neu' York Times , December 20, 1936, Sec- 
tion II, p. 1 1 

Jacob Kainen, "Our Expressionists," Art 
Front, vol. 3, no. 1, February 1937, pp. 

Passedoit Gallery, New York, The Ten, April 
26-May8, 1937 

'"The Ten' at Passedoit's," The Art Digest , 
vol. xi, no. 15, May 1, 1937, p. 23 
H[oward] Dfevree], "Five of the Current 
Group Shows," The New York Times , May 
2, 1937, Section II, p. 90 
J. L., "Versatility of Talent Exhibited by 
The Ten,'" Art News , vol. xxxv, no. 32, 
May 8, 1937, p. 17 

Wanamaker's Picture Gallery, John 
Wanamaker, New York, Second Annual 
Membership Exhibition: American Artists 
Congress Incorporated, May 5-21, 1938 

Passedoit Gallery, New York, The Ten, May 
9-21, 1938 

M.D., "New Experiments by The Ten' 
Group in its Seasonal Show," 
Art News, vol. xxxvi, no. 34, May 21, 
1938, p. 16 

Mercury Galleries, New York, The Ten: 

Whitney Dissenters, November 5-26, 

1938. Pamphlet with text by Bernard 
Braddon and Marcus Rothkowitz 

J.L., "Whitney Dissenters' Hold Their 
own Exhibition," Art News, vol. xxxviii, 
no. 7, November 12, 1938, p. 15 
"Whitney Dissenters," The Art Digest, 
vol. xiii, no. 4, November 15, 1938, p. 9 

Bonestell Gallery, New York, The Ten, Oc- 
tober 23-November 4, 1939 
J.L . "The Ten:' a Substantial Showing," 
Art News . vol xxxviii, no. 4, October 28, 

1939. p. 16 

Neumann-Willard Gallery. New York, Neu' 
Work by Marcel Gromaire. Mark Rothko. 
Joseph Solman, January 8-27, 1940 
J.L., Three Moderns Rothko, Gromaire 
and Solman," Art Neus . vol xxxviii, no. 
16, January 20, 1940, p 12 

Rorunda ol the American Art Today Build- 
ing, New York World's Fair, The Federa- 
tion of Modern Painters and Sculptors: The 
First Exhibition of Paintings and Sculpture, 
June 20-July 8, 1940 

Smith College Museum of Art. Norrhamp- 
ton, Massachusetts, American Art from the 
Federation of Modern Painters and Sculptors , 
November 12-December 1, 1940 

Riverside Museum. New York, The First 

Annual Exhibition ol the Federation of Mod- 
ern Painters and Sculptors, March 9-23, 

R.H. Macy Department Store, New York 
[Group Exhibition], January 5-26, 1942 
Organized by Samuel Kootz 
Edward Alden Jewell. "Mr Kootz Dis- 
covers, ' " The New York Times , January 1 1 , 
1942, Section 9, p. 9; reply by Samuel 
Kootz, "Letter to the Editor: Opinions 
under Postage," The New York Times, 

January 18, 1942, Section 9, p. x9 

Wildenstein and Co., Inc., Galleries, The 

Federation of Modern Painters and Sculptors: 
Second Annual, May 21-June 10, 1942. 

Wildenstein, New York, The Federation of 
Modern Painters and Sculptors Inc.: Third 
Annual Exhibition , June 3-26, 1943 
Edward Alden Jewell, "End-Of-The- 
Season Melange," The New York Times, 
June 6, 1943, Section II, p. x9; reply by 
Marcus Rothko and Adolph Gottlieb with 
unacknowledged collaboration of Barnett 
Newman [letter], in Edward Alden 
Jewell, "The Realm of Art," The New York 
Times, June 13, 1943, p. x9 

The 460 Park Avenue Galleries, New York, 
As We See Them, October 1 1-November 3, 

Abstract and Surrealist Art in the United States. 
Organized by Sidney Janis, circulated by 
San Francisco Museum of Art. Traveled 
to: Cincinnati Art Museum, February 
8-March 12, 1944; The Denver Art 
Museum, March 26-April 3, 1944; The 
Santa Barbara Museum of Art, June-July 
1944; San Francisco Museum of Art, July 
1944. Catalogue with text by Sidney 
Janis. Traveled to Mortimer Brandt Gal- 
lery, New York, November 29-December 
30, 1944. Separate catalogue published as 
Sidney Janis, Abstract and Surrealist Art in 
America, New York, 1944 
M[aude] R[iley], "Whither Goes Abstract 
and Surrealist Art?" The Art Digest, vol. 
xix, no. 5, December 1, 1944, pp. 8, 31 
Emily Genauer, "New Surrealist Show," 
The New York World Telegram , December 

2, 1944, p. 9 

Howard Devree, "Among the New 
Shows," The New York Times, December 

3, 1944, Section II, p. x8 

Art of This Century, New York, First Exhi- 
bition in America of (twenty paintings) never 
shown in America Before [sic] , April 
11 -May 6, 1944 

New Art Circle, New York, Some Aspects of 
Modern Art, closed October 23, 1944 
Maude Riley, "Fifty-Seventh Street in 
Review," The Art Digest, vol. 19, no. 2, 
October 15, 1944, p. 17 

67 Gallery, New York, Forty American Mod- 
erns, December 4-30, 1944 
R.F. "Gifts for Dollars: A Fair Ex- 
change," A rt News, vol. xlii, no. 17, De- 
cember 15-31, 1944, p. 18 

David Porter Gallery, Washington, D.C., A 

Painting Prophecy-1950, February 1945. 
Catalogue with texts by Rothko and other 
participating artists 

67 Gallery, New York, A Problem for Critics 
May 14-July 7, 1945 
Robert M. Coates, "The Art Galleries,' 
The New Yorker, vol. xxi, no. 15, May 26 
1945, p. 68 

Maude Riley, "Insufficient Evidence,' 
The Art Digest, vol. 19, no. 17, June 1 
1945, p. 12 

Clement Greenberg, "Art," The Nation 
vol. clx, no. 23, June 9, 1945, pp. 657 

Edward Alden Jewell, "Toward Abstract 
or Away? A Problem for Critics," The New 
York Times, July 1, 1945, Section II, p. 2 

California Palace of the Legion of Honor, San 
Francisco, Contemporary American Paint- 
ing, May 17-June 17, 1945. Catalogue 
with text by Jermayne MacAgy 

Wildenstein and Co., Inc., New York, Fifth 
Anniversary Exhibition of Paintings and 
Sculpture by Members of the Federation of 
Modern Painters and Sculptors and guest ar- 
tists , September 12-29, 1945 
"Unhampered Flow of Tradition..." Lim- 
ited Edition , September 1945, p. 2 

Art of This Century, New York, Autumn 
Salon, October 6-29, 1945 
"The Passing Shows," Art News, vol. xliv, 
no. 13, October 15-31, 1945, p. 29 

Whitney Museum of American Art, New 
York, Annual Exhibition of Contemporary 
American Painting, November 27, 1945- 
January 10, 1946. Catalogue 
Alfred M. Frankfurter, "The Whitney 
Sets the Pa.ce," Art News , vol. xliv, no. 16, 
December 1-14, 1945, pp. 13-15 

Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, 
Philadelphia, The One Hundred and Forty- 
First Annual Exhibition of Painting and 
Sculpture, January 26-March 3, 1946. 

Whitney Museum of American Art, New 
York, Annual Exhibition of Contemporary 
American Sculpture, Watercolors and Draw- 
ings , February 5-March 13, 1946. 

Thomas B. Hess, "The Whitney Draws 
■ Slowly to the Left," Art News, vol. xlv, no. 
1, March 1946, pp. 29, 62 

Charles Egan Gallery, New York, 12 Works 
of Distinction , May 20-June 8, 1946 
"Reviews and Previews," Art News, vol. 
xlv, no. 5, July 1946, pp. 48-49 

Wildenstein and Co. , Inc. , New York, Sixth 

Annual Exhibition of Paintings and Sculpture 
by Members of the Federation of Modern Paint- 
ers and Sculptors and guest artists , September 
18-October 5, 1946. Traveled to: The 
Rochester Memorial Art Gallery, New 
York; The Saint Paul Gallery, Minnesota; 
M.H. de Young Memorial Museum, San 
Francisco; The Museum of Fine Arts, 
Houston, William Rockhill Nelson Gal- 
lery of Art, Kansas City, Missouri 

Whitney Museum of American Art, New 
York, Annual Exhibition of Contemporary 
American Painting, December 10, 1946- 
January 16, 1947. Catalogue 
Alfred M. Frankfurter, "What's Modern 
at the Whitney: Abstract Emphasis Builds 
Up the Naturalists," Art News, vol. xlv, 
no. 11, January 1947, pp. 18-19,57 

Betty Parsons Gallery, New York, The Ideo- 
graphic Picture, January 20-February 8, 
1947. Announcement with text by B[ar- 
nett] B. Newman 

Edward Alden Jewell, "New Phase in Art 
Noted at Display," The New York Times , 
January 23, 1947. p. 21 
Edward Alden Jewell, "By British Mas- 
ters: 'The Ideographic Picture,'" The New 
York Times, January 26, 1947, p. x9 
"Reviews and Previews," Art News, vol. 
xlv, no. 12, February 1947, p. 44 

The Brooklyn Museum, International Water- 
color Exhibition, 14th Biennial , April 16- 
June8, 1947 

Thomas B. Hess, "One World in Water- 
color," Art News, vol. xlvi, no. 3, May 
1947, pp. 25, 54-55 

The Art Institute of Chicago, Abstract and 
Surrealist American Art, November 6, 
1947-January 1, 1948. Catalogue with 
texts by Katharine Kuh and Frederick 

Peyton Boswell, Jr. , "Chicago Surveys the 
Abstract and Surrealist Art of America," 
The Art Digest , vol. 22, no. 4, November 
15, 1947, pp. 9-10 

Whitney Museum of Ametican Art, New 
York, Annual Exhibition of Contemporary 
American Painting, December 6, 1947- 
January 25, 1948. Catalogue 

Whitney Museum of American Art, New 
York, Annual Exhibition of Contemporary 
American Sculpture, Watercolors and Draw- 
ings, January 31-March 21, 1948. 

Venice, La XXIV Biennale di Venezia: La 
Collezione Peggy Guggenheim, May 29- 
September 30, 1948. Catalogue with 



texts by Bruno Alfieri and Peggy 

Wildenstein and Co. , New York, Eighth An- 
nual Exhibition of Paintings and Sculpture by 
Members of the Federation of Modern Painters 
and Sculptors, September 14-October 2, 

Palazzo Strozzi, Florence, La Collezione 
Guggenheim , February 19-March 10, 
1949- Catalogue with text by Peggy 
Guggenheim. Traveled to Palazzo Reale, 
Milan, June 1949 Separate catalogue 
with additional text by Francesco Flora 

National Arts Club, New York, Federation of 
Modern Painters and Sculptors, March 
14-31, 1949 

Whitney Museum of American Art, New 
York, Annual Exhibition of Contemporary 
American Sculpture. Watercolors and Draw- 
ings , April 2-May 8, 1949. Catalogue 

San Francisco Museum of Art, The Western 
Round Table on Modern Art, April 8-10, 

Samuel M. Kootz Gallery, New York, The 
Intrasubjectit'es , September 15-October 3, 

1949. Catalogue with text by Samuel 

Margaret Breuning, "Kootz Re-opens," 
The Art Digest, vol. 23, no. 20, September 
15, 1949, p 15 

Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, New Ac- 
cessions. U.S.A.. from Great Britain, The 
United States and France, with Sculpture from 
the United States. November-December 

Whitney Museum ot American Art, New 
York, Annual Exhibition of Contemporary 
American Painting. December 16, 1949- 
February 5, 1950. Catalogue 

Lotos Club, New York, Exhibition of Water- 
colors and Sculpture By the Members of the 
Federation of Modern Painters and Sculptors. 
February 21-March 5, 1950 

College of Fine and Applied Arts, Urbana, 
Illinois, University of Illinois Exhibition of 
Contemporary American Painting. February 
26-April 2, 1950. Catalogue with text by 
Allen S. Weller 

Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, 
American Painting 1950. April 22-June 4, 

1950. Catalogue with text by James 
Johnson Sweeney 

Sidney Janis Gallery, New York, Young 
Painters in U.S. and France. October 22- 

November 11, 1950 

Belle Krasne, "Youth: France vs. U.S.," 

The Art Digest , vol. 25, no. 3. November 

1, 1950, p. 17 

Rfobert} Gfoodnough], "Reviews and 

Previews," Art News, vol. xlix, no. 7, 

November 1950, p. 47 

Whitney Museum of American Art, New 
York, Annual Exhibition of Contemporary 
American Painting. November 10- 
December 31, 1950. Catalogue 
Thomas B. Hess, "Invited Guests of the 
Whitney," Art News. vol. xlix, no. 8, 
December 1950, pp. 32-33, 63 

Frank Perls Gallery, Beverly Hills, Seventeen 
Modern American Painters, January 11- 
February 7, 1951 Catalogue with text by 
Robert Motherwell 

Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, Surrealisme 
+ Abstraction: Choi x de la Collection Peggy 
GuggenheimlSurrealtsme + Abstractie: 
Keuze nit de Verzameling Peggy Gug- 
genheim, January 19-February 26, 1951. 
Traveled to Palais des Beaux-Arts de 
Bruxelles, March 3-28, 1951. Catalogue 
in French and Dutch. Traveled to 
Kunsthaus Zurich, as Moderne Kunst aus 
der Sammlung Peggy Guggenheim. April- 
May 1951. Separate catalogue in German 
with text by Max Bill 

The Museum of Modern Art, New York, 
Abstract Painting and Sculpture in America. 
January 23-March 25, 1951. Catalogue 
with text by Andrew Carnduff Ritchie 
Belle Krasne. "The Modern Presents 37 
Years of Abstraction in America," The Art 
Digest, vol. 25, no. 8, February 1, 1951, 
pp. 11,21 

Thomas B Hess, "Is Abstraction Un- 
American?" Art News. vol. xlix, no. 10, 
February 1951, pp. 38-41 

University Galleries, University of Neb- 
raska, Lincoln, Nebraska Art Association 
Sixty-First Annual Exhibition. March 
4-April 1, 1951. Catalogue 
"Nebraska Shows Old and New," The Art 
Digest, vol. 25, no. 12, March 15. 1951, 
p. 11 

College of Fine and Applied Arts, Urbana, 
Illinois, University of Illinois Exhibition of 
Contemporary Painting. March 4-April 15, 
1951. Catalogue with text by Allen S 

Los Angeles County Museum, 1951 Annual 
Exhibition: Contemporary Painting m the 
United States. June 2-July 22, 1951. 
Catalogue with text by James B. Byrnes 

University Gallery, University of Min- 
nesota, Minneapolis, 40 American Paint- 
ers, 1940-1950, June 4-August 30, 1951. 
Catalogue with text by H.H. Arnason 

The Museum of Modern Art, New York, 
Selections from New York Private Collections. 
Summer 1951. Catalogue 

Rathaus Schonberg, Berlin, Berliner 
Festwochen 1951: Amerikamsche Malerei: 
Werden und Gegenwart. September 20- 
October 5, 1951. Traveled to Schloss 
Charlottenburg, October 10-24, 1951 

Sao Paulo, Brazil, / Bienal do Museu de Arte 
Moderna de Sao Paulo. October-December 
195 1 Catalogue 

City Art Museum of Saint Louis, Contempor- 
ary American Painting. November 12- 
December 10, 1951. Catalogue 

The Brooklyn Museum, New York, Revolu- 
tion and Tradition: A n Exhibition of the Chief 
Movements in American Painting from 1900 
to the Present . November 15, 1951-January 
6, 1952. Catalogue with text by John 
I H Baur 

Dforothy] S[eckler], "The American Con- 
flict: Rebel and Conformist," Art News. 
vol. 50, no. 8, December 1951, pp. 21, 

The Museum of Modern Art, New York, 7 5 
Americans. March 25-June 1 1, 1952. Cat- 
alogue with reprinted and new texts by 
Rothko and other participating artists 
James Fitzsimmons, "Fifteen More Ques- 
tions Posed at the Modern Museum," The 
Art Digest, vol 26, no. 15, May 1, 1952, 
pp. 11, 24 

Sidney Jams Gallery, New York, 9 American 
Painters Today. January 4-23, 1954 

Joe and Emily Lowe Art Center, Syracuse 
University, Painting and Sculpture from the 
Institute Collection . February 9-28, 1954 

Modern Art in the U.S.A. Organized by The 
International Council of The Museum of 
Modern Art, New York. Separate 
catalogue in language of each country with 
texts by some or all of following: Holger 
Cahill, Mildred Consrantine, Greta 
Daniel, Arthur Drexler, Richard Griffith, 
Henry Russell Hitchcock, William S. 
Lieberman, Edward Steichen. Traveled to: 
Musee Nationale d'Art Moderne, Paris, 
as Cmquante ans d'art aux Etats-Unis, 
March 30-May 15, 1955; Kunsthaus 
Zurich, zs Moderne Kunst aus U.S.A.. July 

16-August 28, 1955; Museo de Arte 
Moderno, Barcelona, as El Arte Moderno en 
el Estados Unidos (architecture), and 
Palacio de la Virveina, Barcelona, as 3rd 
Bienal Hispano- Americano de Arte: El Arte 
Moderno en el Estados Unidos (painting, 
sculpture, prints), September 24-October 
24, 1955, with two catalogues; Haus des 
Deutschen Kunsthandwerks, Frankfurt, 
as Moderne Kunst aus U.S.A.. November 
13-December 11, 1955; Tate Gallery, 
London, as Modern Art in the United States. 
January- 5-February 12, 1956; Gemeente 
Museum, The Hague, as 50 jaar moderne 
kunst in de U.S.A.. March 2-April 15, 
1956; Wiener Secession Galerie (paint- 
ing, sculpture, prints, architecture) and 
Neue Galerie, Vienna (photogtaphy), as 
Moderne Kunst aus U.S.A. . May 5-June 2, 
1956, with one catalogue; Kalemagdan 
Pavilion (painting, sculpture), ULUS Gal- 
lery, (prints, photographs), Fresco 
Museum (architecture), Belgrade, as Sav- 
remena utmetnost U.S.A.D. , July 6-August 
6, 1956, with one catalogue 
Emily Genauer, "Bad Press for U.S. Art 
Show in Paris Examined," New York 
Herald Tribune. April 17, 1955, Section 6, 
P. 13 

Lawrence Alloway, "U.S. Modern: Paint- 
ings," Art Neus and Review, vol. vii, no. 
26, January 21, 1956, pp. 1,9 
Patrick Heron, "The Americans at the 
Tate Gallery, "Arts. vol. 30, no. 6, March 
1956, pp. 15-17 

Milwaukee Art Institute. Wisconsin, 55 
Americans. September 9-October 23, 

Katonah Gallety, Katonah, New York, 
American Watercolors from the Whitney 
Museum of American Art. November 26, 
1955-January 3, 1956 

Betty Parsons Gallery, New York, Ten Years. 
December 19, 1955-January 14, 1956. 
Announcement with text by Clement 

Sidney Jams Gallery, New York, Recent 
Paintings by 7 Americans. September 24- 
October 20, 1956 

The Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C. , 
Paintings by Mark Rothko. Bradley Tomlin 
and Kenzo Okada, January 6-February 26, 

All India Arts & Crafts Society, New Delhi, 
Third International Contemporary Art Exhib- 
ition. Febtuary 23-March 7, 1957. 
Traveled to: Municipal Museum, 
Ahmedabad, closed March 31, 1957; In- 

dustrial Exhibirion Grounds, Hyderabad, 
April 15-25. 1957; Calcutta, May 4-25, 

Sidney Janis Gallery, New York, 8 Ameri- 
cans. April 1-20, 1957. Catalogue 
J[ames] Stchuyler], "Reviews and Pre- 
views," Art Neus. vol. 56, no. 2, April 
1957, p. 11 

Albright Art Gallery, Buffalo, Contemporary 
Art Acquisitions 1954-1957. May 15. 
1957-February 15, 1958. Catalogue 

Gimpel Fils, Ltd., London, Summer Exhibi- 
tion, July 16-August 24, 1957 
Robert Melville, "Exhibitions," Architec- 
tural Ret ieu\ vol. cxxii, no. 729, Octobet 
1957, pp. 269-271 

Museum of Art, Pennsylvania State Univer- 
sity, Hetzel Union Building, An Exhibi- 
tion in Tribute to Sidney Janis. February 
3-24, 1958 

Institute of Contemporary Aft, London, 
Some Paintings from the E.J. Power Collec- 
tion. March 13-April 19, 1958. Catalogue 
with text by Lawrence Alloway 
Parrick Heron, "London," Arts. vol. 32, 
no. 8, May 1958, pp. 22-23 

The Neu- American Painting. Organized by 
The International Council of The Museum 
of Modern Arr, New York. Separate 
catalogue in language of each country with 
texts by Alfred H. Barr, Jr.. Portet 
McCray, repnnred texts by Rothko and 
other participating artists. Ttaveled to: 
Kunsthalle Basel, as Die neue amenkanische 
malerei. April 19-May 26, 1958, with ad- 
ditional catalogue text by Arnold Rud- 
linger; Galleria Civica d'Arte Moderna, 
Milan, as La Nuova Pittura Americana. 
June 1-29, 1958; Museo Nacional de Arte 
Contemporaneo, Madrid, as La Nueva Pin- 
tura Americana. July 16-August 11, 1958; 
Hochschule fur Bildende Kunste, Berlin, 
as Die neue amerikanische malerei, Sep- 
tember 1-Ocrober 1, 1958; Stedelijk 
Museum, Amstetdam, as Jong Amerika 
schilderl, October 17-November 24, 
1958; Palais des Beaux-Arts de Bruxelles, 
as La nouvelle peinture am'ericaine. De- 
cember 6, 1958-January 4, 1959; Musee 

■ Narional d'Art Moderne, Paris, with ad- 
ditional exhibition ah Jackson Pollock et la 
nouvelle peinture americaine, January 16- 
February 15, 1959, with additional 
catalogue texts by Sam Hunter on Pollock 
and by Jean Cassou; Tate Gallery, Lon- 
don, as The Neu- American Painting, Feb- 
ruary 24-March 22, 1959, with additional 
catalogue text by Gabriel White; The 

Museum of Modern Art, New York, as 
The New American Painting. May 28- 
September 8, 1959. Traveled in part to 
Albany Institute of History and Art, New 
York, as The Neu- American Painting. Sep- 
tember 25-October 25, 1959 
Emily Genauer, "Abstract Art that 
Touted Europe is Displayed Here," The 
New York Herald Tribune. May 28. 1959. 
p. 17 

Hilton Kramer. "The End of Modern 
Painting," The Reporter. July 23, 1959, 
p. 42 

Kenneth Rexroth, "Ameticans Seen 
Abroad," Art Neus, vol. 58, no. 4, Sum- 
mer 1959, pp. 30-33, 52, 54 
Lawrence Alloway, "The New American 
Painting," Art International, vol. Ill, no. 
3-4, 1959, pp. 21-29 

Fieldston School Arts Center, New York, 
American Art Today. April 26-30, 1958 

Venice, XXIX Exposizione Biennale Inter- 
nazionale d'Arte. June 14-October 19 

1958. Catalogue with text on Rothko by 
Sam Hunter 

Ettore Camesasca, "La Pittura Straniera,' 

Le Am, vol. vii, no. 4/5, May 5, 1958 

pp. 4-5 

Heinz Keller, "Ausstellungen: Venedig,' 

Werk, jg. 45, heft 8, August 1958, pp 


Sidney Janis Gallery, New York, X Years of 
Janis: 10th Anniversary Exhibition. Sep- 
tember 29-November 1, 1958 

Root Art Center, Clinton, New York, New 
Trends in 20th Century American Painting. 
October 26-November 30, 1958 

Department of Fine Arts, Carnegie Insti- 
tute, Pittsburgh, The 1958 Pittsburgh 
Bicentennial International Exhibition of Con- 
temporary Painting and Sculpture. De- 
cember 5, 1958-February 8, 1959. 

Sidney Janis Gallery, New York, 8 American 
Painters, January 5-31, 1959. Catalogue 
J[ames] S[chuyler], "Reviews and Pre- 
views," Art News, vol. 57, no. 9, January 

1959. p. 10 

The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Neu- 
York and Paris: Painting in the Fifties, 
January 16-February 8, 1959- Catalogue 
with texts by Dore Ashton and Bernard 

Brooks Memorial Art Gallery, Memphis, 
The Roy and Marie Neuberger Collection, 21 
American Paintings: 1944-1956. February 
13-March 1, 1959 


Kunstmuseum St. Gallen, Switzerland, Neue 
Amerikanische Malerei, March 14-April 
26, 1959. Catalogue with texts by R. 
Hanhart, E. Naegeli and Hans Theler 

Kassel, Germany, Museum Fridericianum, 
// Documenta '59, Kunst nach 1945: Inter- 
nationale Ausslellung. July 1 1-October 11, 
1959- Catalogue with text by Werner 

Lawrence Alloway, "Before and After 
1945: Reflections on Documenta II," Art 
International, vol. Ill, no. 7, 1959, pp. 
29-36, 79 

Sokolniki, Moscow, American Painting and 
Sculpture: American National Exhibition in 
Moscow , July 25-September 5, 1959. Or- 
ganized by Archives of American Art, De- 
troit. Catalogue with text in English by 
Lloyd Goodrich 

The Columbus Gallery of Fine Arts, Ohio, 
Contemporary American Painting, January 
14-February 18, 1960. Catalogue with 
text by Tracy Atkinson 

Modern American Painting 1950-1958. Or- 
ganized by City Art Museum of St. Louis, 
circulated by United States Information 
Agency. Separate catalogue in language of 
each country with anonymous texts. 
Traveled to: Galleria Nazionale d'Arte 
Moderna, Rome, January 23-February 
22, I960; Permanente Gallery, Milan, as 
25 Anni di Pittura Americana, March 5-31, 
I960; Amerika Haus, Berlin, April 
15-May 15, I960; Hessisches Landes- 
museum Darmstadt, as Moderne 
Amerikanische Malerei 1930-1958, June 
3-26, I960; Goteborgs Konstmuseum, 
Goteborg, Sweden, as Modern! Amertkanst 
Maleri 1932-1958, July 15-August 7, 
1960; City Art Gallery, York, England, 
mid-August-mid-September, I960 
J. AS. Ingamells, "American Painting at 
York," Museums Journal, vol. 60, no. 6, 
October 1960, pp. 165-168 

Galerie Neufville, Paris [Group Exhibition], 
February 23-March 22, I960 

University of California, Berkeley, Art from 
Ingres to Pollock, March 6-April 3, I960. 
Catalogue with texts by Herschel B. 
Chipp and Grace Morley 

Whitney Museum of American Art, New 
York, Business Buys American Art, March 
17-Apnl 24, I960. Catalogue 

Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, 60 Ameri- 
can Painters I960: Abstract Expressionist 
Painting of the '50's, April 3-May 8, 1960. 
Catalogue with text by H.H. Arnason and 

Herbert Read. Reprinted in Art Neu i s, 
May 1960, see Bibliography, General Ar- 
ticles, p. 293 

Sidney Jams Gallery, New York, 9 American 
Painters, April 4-23, 1960. Catalogue 

Yale University Christian Association, New 
Haven, Religious Perspectives in Post-1950 
American Art, April 18-29, 1960 

Galleria dell'Ariete, Milan, Undtci Ameri- 
cani, April 27-May 1960. Catalogue with 
text by Guido Ballo 

San Francisco Museum of Art, Paintings and 
Sculpture from the Collection of Mrs. John D 
Rockefeller, 111, July 1-August 7, 1960 

Cleveland Museum of Art, Paths of Abstract 
Art, October 4-November 13, I960. 
Catalogue published as Edward B. Hen- 
ning. Paths of Abstract Art, New York, 

Munson-Williams-Proctor Institute, Utica, 
New York, Art Across America, October 
15-December 31, I960. Catalogue with 
texts by Howard Mumford Jones and 
Richard B.K. McLanathan 

Helmhaus Zurich, Konkrete Kunst: 50 Jahre 
Entwicklung, I960 

Kunstmuseum Basel, Die J ubildumss chenkung 
des Schweizerischen National-Verstcher- 
ungs-Gesellschaft an das Basler Kunst- 
museum, 1960 

Maria Netter, "Die Jubiliiumsschenkung 
des Schweizerischen National-Versicher- 
ungs-Gesellschaft an das Basler Kunst- 
museum," M'erk, jg. 47, heft 5, May 
1960, pp. 182-183 

Stadtisches Museum Leverkusen, West 
Germany, Monochrome Malerei, I960 

William Rockhill Nelson Gallery and At- 
kins Museum of Fine Arts, Kansas City, 
Missouri, On the Logic of Modern Art, 
January 19-February 26, 1961. Catalogue 
with text by Ralph T. Coe 

Union College, Schenectady, New York, 
New Trends in 20th Century American Paint- 
ing, March 5-26, 1961 

John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, 
Sarasota, Florida, The Sidney Janis Paint- 
ers, Apnl8-May7, 1961 

Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, 
Paintings and Sculpture from the Albright Art 
Gallery, April 26-September 4, 1961 

Birmingham Museum of Art, Alabama, 
Tenth Anniversary Exhibition . April 

28-May 31, 1961 

Sidney Jams Gallery, New York, 70 Ameri- 
can Painters, May 8-June 3, 1961. 

I[rving] H. S[andler}, "Reviews and Pre- 
views: Ten Americans," Art News, vol. 
60, no. 4, Summer 1961, p. 10 

Centro Internazionale delle Arti e del Cos- 
tume, Palazzo Grassi, Venice, Arte e Con- 
templazione, July 7-October 18, 1961. 
Catalogue with text by Paolo Mannotti 
and poem by Willem Sandberg 

Stedeli|k Museum, Amsterdam, Polariteit, 
July 22-September 18, 1961. Catalogue 
with texts by Thomas Grochowiak and 
Annelise Schroder 

Smolin Gallery, New York, Paintings from 

the W.P.A., September 1 1-October 5, 

L[awrence] C[ampbell], "Reviews and 

Previews: Paintings from the W.P.A.," 

Art Neu : s, vol. 60, no. 5, September 
1961, p. 14 

San Francisco Museum of Art, American Bus- 
iness and the Arts, September 14-October 
15, 1961 

The Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Ben Heller. 
Organized by The Museum of Modern 
Art, New York. Traveled to: The Art In- 
stitute of Chicago, September 22-October 
22, 1961; The Baltimore Museum of Art, 
December 3-31, 1961; Contemporary 
Arts Center, Cincinnati, January 22- 
February 25, 1962; The Cleveland 
Museum of Art, March 13-April 10, 
1962; California Palace of the Legion of 
Honor, San Francisco, April 30-June 3, 
1962; Portland Art Museum, Oregon, 
June 15-July 22, 1962; Los Angeles 
County Museum of Art, September 
5-October 14, 1962. Catalogue with texts 
by Alfred H. Barr, Jr., Ben Heller and 
William Seitz 

Henry Geldzahler, "Heller: New 
American-type collector," Art Neus, vol. 
60, no. 5, September 1961, pp. 28-31, 

The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, 
New York, American Abstract Expressionists 
and Imagists, October 13-December 31, 
1961. Catalogue with text by H.H. Arna- 

Jack Kroll, "American Painting and the 
Convertible Spiral," Art News, vol. 60, 
no. 7, November 1961, pp. 34-37, 66, 


Lawrence Alloway, "Easel Painting at 

the Guggenheim," Art International, vol. 

v, no. 10, Christmas 1961, pp. 26-34 
Dore Ashton, "Art," Arts & Architecture, 
vol. 78. no. 12, December 1961, pp. 4-5 

Vanguard American Painting. Organized by 
H. H. Arnason for United States Informa- 
tion Service. Separate catalogue in lan- 
guage of each country with text by H.H. 
Arnason. Traveled to: various cities, 
Yugoslavia, as Savremena Amerika umenost 
1961; USIS Gallery, American Embassy, 
London, February 28-March 30, 1962; 
Hessischen Landesmuseum , Darmstadt, 
as Abstrakte Amenkanische Malerei, April 
14-May 13, 1962; Salzburg, Zwerglgar- 
ten, as Amenkanische Maler der Gegenwart, 
July 10-August 3, 1962 

Deparrment of Fine Arrs, Carnegie Insti- 
tute, Pittsburgh, The 1961 Pittsburgh In- 
ternational Exhibition of Contemporary Paint- 
ing and Sculpture, October 27, 1961- 
January 7, 1962. Catalogue with text by 
Gordon Bailer Washburn 

Whitney Museum of American Art, New 
York, American Art of our Century: 30th 
Anniversary Exhibition, November 15- 
December 10, 1961. Catalogue with texts 
by John I.H. Baut and Lloyd Goodrich 

Florida Union Social Room, University of 
Florida, Painting and Sculpture in Florida 
Collections, January 14-18, 1962 

Whitney Museum of American Art, New 
York, Masters of American Watercolor, Feb- 
ruary 13-March4, 1962 
Dore Ashton, "New York Commentary: 
De Kooning's Verve," Studio International, 
vol. 163, no. 830, June 1962, p. 225 

Gimpel Fils Ltd. , London, A Selection of East 
Coast & West Coast American Painters, 
March 1962 

J[asia] Reichardt, "Les Expositions a 
Londres: peinture americaine," Au- 
jourd'hui, 6eannee, no. 36, April 1962, p. 

Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford, Continuity 
and Change: 45 American Abstract Painters 
and Sculptors, April 12-May 27, 1962. 
Catalogue with text by Samuel Wagstaff, 

Daniel Robbins, "Continuity and Change 
at Hartford," Art International, vol. vi, 
no. 8, Ocrober 25, 1962, pp. 59-65 

Seattle Fine Arts Pavilion, Seattle World's 
Fair, Art Since 1950: American and Interna- 
tional, April 21-October 21, 1962. 
Catalogue with text by Sam Hunter. 
Traveled in part to: Rose Arr Museum, 

Brandeis University, Waltham, Mas- 
sachusetts, Novembet 21-December 23, 
1962; The Institute of Contemporary Art, 
Boston, as American Art Since 1950. Sepa- 
rate catalogue with text by Sam Hunter 
reprinted from Seattle catalogue 

Sidney Janis Gallery, New York, 10 Ameri- 
can Painters, May 7-June 2, 1962. 

Haus am Waldsee, Berlin, Gegenwart bis 
1962, June 1962. Caralogue wirh rext by 
Manfred de Motte 

Smolin Gallery, New York, Art of the Thir- 
ties, Septembet 25-October 13, 1962 

Oakland Art Museum, California, Treasures 
from East Bay Collections, September 28- 
November 2, 1962. Catalogue 

Univetsity of Michigan Museum of Art, Ann 
Arbor, Contemporary American Painting, 
Selections from the Collection of Mr. and Mrs. 
Roy R. Neuberger, October 21-November 
18, 1962 

Dwan Gallery, Los Angeles [Group 
Exhibition], 1962 

H[enry] T. H[opkins], "Reviews: Los 
Angeles," Artforum, vol. i, no. 6, 
November 1962, p. 48 

Amon Cartet Museum of Western Art, Fort 
Worth, Texas, The Artist's Environment: 
The West Coast, Novembet 6-December 
24, 1962. Traveled ro: UCLA Arr Gal- 
leries, Los Angeles, January 6-February 
10, 1963; Oakland Art Museum, Califor- 
nia, March 17-Apnl 15, 1963 

Galerie Miiller, Stuttgart, Sam Francis, 
Franz Kline, Joan Mitchell, Robert Mother- 
well, Marc Rothko, January 19-February 
15, 1963 

Marlborough Fine Art, Ltd., London, As- 
pects of 20th Century Art, July-August 
1963- Catalogue 

Sidney Janis Gallery, New York, 11 Abstract 
Expressionist Painters, October 7- 
November 2, 1963- Catalogue 

The Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Four Cen- 
turies of American Art, November 27, 
1963-January 19, 1964. Catalogue with 
text by Marshall B. Davidson 

New Directions in American Painting. Or- 
ganized by The Poses Institute of Fine 
Arts, Brandeis University, Waltham, 
Massachusetts. Catalogue with text by 
Sam Hunter. Traveled to: Munson- 
Williams-Procror Institute, Utica, New 

York, December 1, 1963-January 5, 
1964; Isaac Delgado Museum of Art, New 
Orleans, February 7-March 8, 1964; At- 
lanta Art Association, March 18-April 22, 
1964; J.B. Speed Art Museum, Louis- 
ville, May 4-June 7, 1964; Aft Museum, 
Indiana University, Bloomington, June 
22-September 20, 1964; Washington 
University, St. Louis, Octobet 5-30, 
1964; Detroit Institute of Arts, 
November 10-December 6, 1964 

Danbury Scott — Fanton Museum and His- 
torical Society, Inc., Danbury, Connec- 
ticut, 27 Contemporary American Artists, 
January 9-25, 1964. Organized by Whir- 
ney Museum of American Art, New York 

Galerie Jacques Benador, Geneva, Artistes 
americaines , February 14-late March 1964 

Sidney Janis Gallery, New York, 2 Genera- 
tions: Picasso to Pollock, March 3-April 4, 

University Art Museum, University of Texas 
at Austin, Re cent American Paintings , Aptil 
15-May 15, 1964. Catalogue 

Fine Arts Gallery, Indiana Universiry, 
Bloomington, American Painting 1910- 
1960, April 19-May 10, 1964. Catalogue 
with text by Henry R. Hope 

The Tate Gallery, London, Painting and 
Sculpture of a Decade: 54-64 , April 22-June 
28, 1964. Organized by Alan Bowness, 
Lawrence Gowing and Philip James for 
Calouste Gulbenkian Foundarion. Cat- 
talogue with unsigned text by Bowness, 
Gowing and James 

Alan Bowness, "54/64 Painting & Sculp- 
ture of a Decade," Studio International , vol. 
167, no. 853, May 1964, pp. 190-194 

Adelphi University, Garden City, New 
York, A Century of American Art, 1864- 
1964, July 10-26, 1964 

Milwaukee Art Center, Wisconsin Collects, 
September 24-October 25, 1964. 

Arr Gallery, The University of New Mexico, 
Albuquerque, Art Since 1889, October 
20-November 15, 1964. Caralogue 

Sidney Janis Gallery, New York, A Selection 
of 20th Century Art of 3 Generations , 
November 24-December 26, 1964. 

The Tate Gallery, London, The Peggy 
Guggenheim Collection, December 31, 
1964-March 7, 1965. Caralogue with text 
by Peggy Guggenheim 

Institute of Contemporary Art, University of 
Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, 1943-1953: 
The Decisivi Years, January 14-March 1, 
1965. Catalogue 

Providence Art Club. Rhode Island, 1965 
Kant Memorial Exhibition, Critic's Choice: 
Art Since World War II, March 31-April 
24. 1965. Catalogue with texts by 
Thomas B. Hess, Hilton Kramer and 
Harold Rosenberg 

Vassar College Art Gallery, Poughkeepsie, 
New York, Art Since 1923: An Exhibition 
m Honor oj Agnes Rindge Claflin , May 
5- June 16, 1965 

The White House, Washington, D.C., The 
White House Festival of the Arts, June 14, 

Los Angeles County Museum of Art, The 
New York School: The First Generation, 
Paintings of the 1940's and 1950's, July 
16-August 1, 1965. Catalogue with ex- 
cerpts from earlier texts by Lawrence Al- 
loway, Robert Goldwater, Clement 
Greenberg, Harold Rosenberg, William 
Rubin and Meyer Schapiro and reprinted 
texts by Rothko and other participating 

Philip Leider, "The New York School: 
The First Generation," Artforum , vol. iv, 
no. 1, September 1965, pp. 3-13 

University of California, Berkeley, The Uni- 
versity Arts Center, January 6-February 16, 

Williams College Museum of Art, Wes- 
leyan, Massachusetts, Williams-Vassar 
Exchange Exhibition, February 28-March 
18, 1966 

The Larry Aldrich Museum, Ridgefield, 
Connecticut, Brandeis University Creative 
Arts Awards, 1957-1966: Tenth Anniver- 
sary Exhibition, April 17-June 26, 1966. 

Seven Decades, 1895-1965: Crosscurrents in 
Modern Art. April 26-May 21, 1966. Or- 
ganized by Public Education Association, 
New York. Exhibition divided among 
New York galleries: Paul Rosenberg and 
Co., 1895-1904; M. Knoedler & Co., 
Inc., 1905-1914; Perls Galleries, E. V. 
Thaw & Co. , 1915-1924; Saidenberg Gal- 
lery, 1925-1934; Stephen Hahn Gallery, 
1925-1934; Pierre Matisse Gallery, 
1935-1944; Andre Emmerich Gallery and 
GalleriaOdyssia, 1945-1954; Cordierand 
Ekstrom, Inc., 1955-1965 . Catalogue 
with text by Peter Selz 

Cleveland Museum of Art , Fifty Years of Mod- 
ern Art 1916-1966, June 14-July 31, 
1966. Catalogue with text by Edward B 

Whitney Museum of American Art, New 
York, Art of the United States: 1670-1966, 
September 28-November 27, 1966. 
Catalogue with text by Lloyd Goodrich 

Barbara Rose, "The New Whitney: The 
Show ," A rtforum , vol. 5, no. 3, November 
1966, pp. 51-55 

Detroit Institute of Arts, The W '. Hawkins 
Ferry Collection, October 1 1-November 
20, 1966 

Two Decades oj American Painting . Organized 
by The International Council of The 
Museum of Modern Art, New York. Sepa- 
rate catalogue in English in each country 
with texts by Lucy R. Lippard, Waldo 
Rasmussen, Irving Sandler, G.R. Swen- 
son. Traveled to: The National Museum of 
Modern Art, Tokyo, October 15- 
November 27, 1966, with catalogue with 
Japanese section; The National Museum 
of Modern Art, Kyoto, December 12, 
1966-January 22, 1967, with catalogue 
with Japanese section; Lalit Kala 
Academy, New Delhi, March 25-Apnl 
15, 1967; National Gallery of Victoria, 
Melbourne, June 6-July 8, 1967; Art Gal- 
lery of New South Wales, Sydney, July 
17-August 20, 1967 

Columbus Gallery of Fine Arts, Ohio, Tun 
Generations oj American Art: 1943-1965 , 
November 11-December, 1966 

Moderna Museet, Stockholm, Peggy 
Guggenheim samling fran Venedig. Novem- 
ber 26, 1966-January 8, 1967. Catalogue 
with text by Peggy Guggenheim 

Sidney Jams Gallery, New York, 2 Genera- 
tions: Picasso to Pollock, January 3-27, 
1967. Catalogue 

University of St. Thomas Art Department, 
Houston, Six Painters, February-April 
1967. Catalogue with texts by Morton 
Feldman, Thomas B. Hess and Domi- 
nique de Menil 

Kurt von Meier, "Houston," Artforum. 
vol. v, no. 9, May 1967, pp. 59-60 

Fondation Maeght, St. Paul de Vence, 
France, Dix ans d'art vtvant 1955-1965, 
May 3-July 23, 1967. Catalogue with text 
by Francois Wehrlin 

Washington Gallery of Modern Art, 
Washington, D.C., Art for Embassies 

Selected from the Woodward Foundation Col- 
lection. September 30-November 5, 1967. 
Catalogue with text by Henry Geldzahler 

Institute ot Contempotary Art, University of 
Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Selected Works 
from the Collection of Mr . and Mrs. H. Gates 
Lloyd. October 18-November 19, 1967. 

M Knoedler et Cie., Paris, Six peintres ameri- 
cams: Gorky, Kline, de Kooning. Newman. 
Pollock. Rothko. October 19-November 
25, 1967. Catalogue with reprinted texts 
by Elaine de Kooning, Rothko and other 
participating artists 

Stedeli|k van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, 
The Netherlands, Kompass 111: Schilder- 
kunst na 1945 uit Neu } York: Paintings after 
1945 in New York, November 9- 
December 17, 1967. Catalogue in Dutch 
and English with text by Jean Leering. 
Traveled to Frankfurter Kunstverein as 
Kompass New York: Malerei nach 1945. De- 
cember 30, 1967-February 1 1, 1968. Sepa- 
rate catalogue in German and English 
with texts by Leering and E. Rathke 

The Royal Dublin Society, Rose '67: The 
Poetry of Vision. November 13, 1967- 
January 10, 1968. Catalogue 

Clement Greenberg, "Poetry of Vision," 
Artforum, vol. vi, no. 8, April 1968, pp. 

The Museum of Modern Art, New York, The 
Sidney and Harriet Jams Collection. January 
17-March 4, 1968. Traveled to: The Min- 
neapolis Institute of Arts, May 15-July 
28, 1968; Portland Art Museum, Ore- 
gon, September 13-October 13, 1968; 
Pasadena Art Museum, November 1 1- 
December 15, 1968; San Francisco 
Museum ot Art, January 13-February 16, 
1969; Seattle Art Museum, March 12- 
April 13. 1969; Detroit Institute of Arts, 
July 14-August 17, 1969; Albright-Knox 
Art Gallery, Buffalo, September 15- 
October 19, 1969; Cleveland Museum of 
Art, November 18, 1969-January 4, 
1970. Catalogue with text by Alfred H. 
Barr, Jr. Circulated further by The Inter- 
national Council of The Museum of Mod- 
ern Art. Separate catalogue in language of 
each country. Traveled to: Kunsthalle 
Basel, February 28-March 30, 1970; The 
Institute of Contemporary Arts, London, 
May 1-31, 1970; Akademie der Kunste, 
Berlin, June 12-August, 1970; Kunst- 
halle, Nurnberg, September 1 1-October 
25, 1970; Wurttembergischer Kunst- 
verein, Stuttgart, as Von Surrealismus bis 

zur Pop Art, November 12-December 27, 
1970; Palais des Beaux-Arts de Bruxelles, 
January 7-February 11, 1971, with no 
catalogue; Kunsthalle Koln, Von Picasso 
bis Warhol. March 5-Apnl 18, 1971. 
Separate catalogue with text by Helmut 
R. Leppien 

Art Gallery, University of California, Irvine, 
Twentieth-Century Works on Paper, January 
30-February 25, 1968. Traveled to 
Memotial Union Art Gallery, University 
of California, Davis, March 26-April 20, 
1968. Catalogue with text by James 

Finch College Museum of Art, New York, 
Betty Parsons' Private Collection, March 
13-April 24, 1968. Catalogue with text 
by E.C. Goossen 

J.B., "In the Museums: The Betty Parsons 
Collection," Arts Magazine, vol. 42, no. 
5, March 1968, p. 54 

Rosalind Constable, "The Betty Parsons Col- 
lection," Art News, vol. 67, no. 1, March 
1968, pp. 48-49, 58-60 

The Museum of Modern Art, New York, 
Dada, Surrealism, and Their Heritage. 
March 27-June 9, 1968. Traveled to: Los 
Angeles County Museum of Art, July 
16-September 8, 1968; The Art Institute 
of Chicago, October 19-December 8, 

1968. Catalogue with text by William 

The National Gallery of Art, Washington, 
D.C. , Paintings from the Albright-Knox Art 
Gallery, May 18-July 21, 1968 

Whitney Museum of American Art, New 
York, Recent Acquisitions. May 23-July 7, 

The Museum of Modern Art, New York, The 
Art of the Real: USA 1948-1968. July 
3-September 8, 1968. Catalogue with 
text by E.C. Goossen. Circulated by The 
International Council of The Museum of 
Modern Art. Separate catalogue in lan- 
guage of each country with text by Goos- 
sen. Traveled to: Centre National d'Art 
Contemporain, Paris, as L'Art du reel: 
USA 1948-1968, November 14- 
December 23, 1968; Kunsthaus Zurich, 
as Der Raum in der Amerikanischer Kunst 
1948-1968. January 19-February 23, 

1969, with catalogue with Goossen text in 
English, additional text by Felix Andreas 
Baumann; The Tate Gallery, London, as 
The Art of the Real: An Aspect of American 
Painting and Sculpture, 1948-1969, April 
24-June 1, 1969 

Hilton Kramer, "The Absttact and the 
Real, From Metaphysics to Visual Facts," 
The New York Times, July 21, 1969, Sec- 
tion II, p. D31 

Philip Leider, "Art of the Real, Museum 
of Modern Art," Artforum, vol. vii. no. 1, 
Seprember 1968, p. 65 

"Laufen der Ausstellungen: Der Raum in 
der Amerikanischer Kunst 1948-1968," 
Werk, jg. 56, no. 1, January 1969, p. 71 

Robert Melville, "Gallery: Minimalism," 
Architectural Review, vol. cxivi, no. 870, 
August 1969, pp. 146-148 

Cranbrook Academy of Art, Bloomfield 
Hills, Michigan, Betty Parsons' Private Col- 
lection, September 22-October 20, 1968. 
Traveled to Brooks Memorial Art Gallery, 
Memphis, November 1-December 1, 
1968. Catalogue with text by E.C. Goos- 

Honolulu Academy of Arts, Hawaii, Signals 
in the Sixties, October 5 -November 10, 
1968. Catalogue with text by James 
Johnson Sweeney 

Milwaukee Art Center, The Collection of Mrs. 
Harry Lynde Bradley, Octobet 25, 1968- 
February 23, 1969. Catalogue with text 
by Tracy Atkinson 

Stadtische Kunsthalle Diisseldorf, Malerei 
des Zwanzigsten Jahrhunderts , 1968 

The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, 
New York, Works of Art from the Peggy 
Guggenheim Foundation, January 16-March 
23, 1969- Catalogue with text by Peggy 

The Disappearance and Reappearance of the Im- 
age: Painting in the United States since 1945. 
Organized by Inrernational Art Program, 
National Collection of Fine Arts, Smith- 
sonian Institution, Washington, D.C. 
Separate catalogue in language of each 
country with texts by Ruth Kaufman and 
John W. McCoubrey, and reprinted texts 
by Rothko and other participating artists. 
Traveled to: Sala Dalles, Bucharest, 
January 17-February 2, 1969; Museul 
Banatului, Timosoara, Romania, Feb- 
ruary 14-March 1, 1969; Galeria de Arta, 

■ Cluj, Romania, March 14-April 2, 1969; 
Slovenska Narodna Galeria, Bratislava, 
Czechoslovakia, April 14-June 15, 1969; 
Narodni Galerie, Prague, July 1-August 
15, 1969; Palais des Beaux-Arts de 
Bruxelles, October 21-November 16, 

American Art from 1945 to Now," Inter- 
national Herald Tribune. November 1-2, 
1969, p. 7 

Kunsthaus Zurich, American Art 1948- 
1968, January 20-February 23, 1969 

Gallery of Art, Washington University, St. 
Louis, The Development of Modernist Paint- 
ing: Jackson Pollock to the Present. April 
1-30, 1969- Caralogue with text by 
Robett T. Buck, Jt. 

The Museum of Modern Art, New York, The 
Neu [ American Painting and Sculpture: The 
First Generation, June 18-October5, 1969 

Whitney Museum of American Art New 
York, Seven Decades of 20th Century Art, 
July 3-September28, 1969 

Hudson River Museum, Yonkers, New 
York, A rt in Westchester from Private Collec- 
tions, September 28-November 2, 1969- 
Catalogue with text by Donald M. Haley 

The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New 
York, New York Painting and Sculpture: 
1940-1970, October 16, 1969-February 
1, 1970. Catalogue with texts by Michael 
Fried, Henry Geldzahler, Clement 
Greenberg, Harold Rosenberg, Robert 
Rosenblum and William Rubin, re- 
printed or revised from earlier sources 

Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, Buenos 
Aires, 109 Obras de Albright-Knox Art Gal- 
lery, October 23-November 30, 1969. 

Pasadena Art Museum, Painting in New York: 
1944 to 1969, November 24, 1969- 
January 11, 1970. Catalogue with text by 
Alan R. Solomon 

Palais des Beaux- Arts de Bruxelles, Petnture 
americaine depuis 1945, 1969 

Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Trends in 
Twentieth Century Art: a loan exhibition from 
the San Francisco Museum of Art, January 
6-February 15, 1970 

The Katonah Gallery, Katonah, New York, 
Color, February 1-March 15, 1970. 
Catalogue with texts by Michael Fried and 
Clement Greenberg adapted in part from 
earlier sources 

School of Fine & Applied Arts Gallery, Bos- 
ron University School of Fine and Applied 
Arrs, Centennial Exhibition: American 
Artists of the Nineteen Sixties, February 
6-March 14, 1970. Catalogue with text 
by H.H. Arnason 

Rona Dobson, "Brussels: The Look of Whitney Museum of American Art, New 

York, Recent Acquisitions, July 9- 19, 1970 

Fondation Maeght, St. Paul de Vence, 
France, Exposition I'art vtvant aux Etats 
Unis, July 16-Seprember 30, 1970. 
Catalogue with text by Dore Ashton 

Whitney Museum of American Art, New 
York, Landmarks of American Art: 1900- 
1960. July 24-September 13, 1970 

Albnght-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, Color 
and Field: 1890-1970. September 15- 
November 1, 1970. Traveled to: Dayton 
Art Institute, November 20, 1970- 
January 10, 1971; Cleveland Museum 
of Art, February 4-March 28, 1971. 
Catalogue with text by Priscilla Colt 

Edward B. Henning, "Color and Field," 
Art International, vol. xv, no. 5, May 20, 

1971, pp. 46-50 

San Francisco Museum of Art, Modern Mas- 
ters in West Coast Collections, October 18- 
November 27, 1970. Catalogue with text 
by George D. Culler 

Kunsthaus Zurich, Malerei des zwansigsten 
Jahrhunderts. 1970 

Whitney Museum of American Art, New 
York, The Structure of Color. February 
25-April 18, 1971. Catalogue with text 
by Marcia Tucker and reprinted texts by 
Rothko and other participating artists 

Northwood Institute, Cedar Hill, Dallas, 
Selections from the Collection of Mrs. Harry 
Lynde Bradley. March 2 1-April 30, 1971. 

Galerie Beyeler, Basel, Art Fair 1971 Basel: 
America. June 24-29, 197 1 

Louisiana Museum, Humlebaek, Denmark, 
Louisiana -Retj: Amerikansk Kunst 1950- 
1970. September 1 1-October 24, 1971. 
Catalogue with texts by Stig Brogger, 
David Galloway, Klaus Honnef, Niels 
Jensen, Gunnar Jespersen and Erik 
Thygesen, and texts by Mel Bochner, 
John Cage, Oyvind Fahlstrom, Alan Sol- 
omon and Rothko and other participating 
artists translated from earlier sources 

Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC. , 
Twentieth Century American Artists, 
October 23-November 22, 1971 

New Orleans Museum of Art, New Orleans 
Collects. November 14, 1971-January 9, 

1972. Catalogue 

Albnght-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, 
Abstract Expressionism: First and Second 
Generations in the Albright-Knox Art Gal- 

lery. January 19-February 20, 1972. 

Peter Schjeldahl, "Down Memory Lane to 
the Fifties," TheNew York Times, February 
6, 1972, Section II, p. 23 

Mead Art Building, Amherst College, 
Amhetst, Massachusetts, Color Painting. 
February 4-March 3, 1972. Catalogue 
with text by Cad N. Schmalz 

Sidney Jams Gallery, New York, Abstract 
Expressionism and Pop Art, February 
9-March4, 1972 

The University Art Museum, The University 
of Texas, Austin, Color Forum, February 
27-Apnl 16, 1972. Catalogue 

Marlborough Gallery, New York, Masters of 
the 19th and 20th Centuries, April-May 

Des Moines Art Center, Iowa, Twenty-Five 
Years of American Painting 1948-1973, 
March 6-April 22, 1973. Catalogue with 
text by Max Kozloff 

Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland Collects 
Contemporary Art, July 1 1-August 20, 
1973- Catalogue with text by Edward B. 

Seattle Art Museum, American Art Third 
Quarter Century, August 22-October 14, 
1973- Catalogue with text by Jan van der 

Whitney Museum of American Art, 
Downtown Branch, New York, Beginnings: 
Direction in Twentieth-Century American 
Painting, September-October 26, 1973 

Oakland Museum, Art Department, 
California, Period of Exploration , Sep- 
tembet 4-November 4, 1973- Catalogue 
with text by Mary Fuller McChesney 

Des Moines Art Center, Iowa, The Ktrsch 
Years: 1936-1958, January 7-February 
10, 1974. Traveled to University of Neb- 
raska Art Galleries, Lincoln, February 
2 5 -March 31, 1974 

The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, The 
Great Decade of American Abstraction: Mod- 
ernist Art 1960-1970, January 15-March 
10, 1974. Catalogue with texts by E.A. 
Carmean, Jr and Phillippe de Montebello 
and texts by Walter Darby Bannard, 
Kermit Champa, Jane Harrison Cone, 
Michael Fried, Clement Greenberg, 
Rosalind Krauss, Kenworth Moffet, Bar- 
bara Rose and William Rubin reprinted or 
revised from earlier sources 

Pace Gallery, New York, Selected American 
Painters of the Fifties. February 9-March 
19, 1974 

Sidney Jams Gallery, New York, 25 Years of 
Jams: Part 2: From Pollock to Pop. Op and 
Sharp-Focus on Realism, March 13-April 
13, 1974 

Fort Worth Art Center Museum, Texas, 

Twentieth Century Art from Fort Worth Dal- 
las Collections, September 8-October 15, 
1974. Catalogue with text by Henry T. 

The Tate Gallery, London , Picasso to Lichten- 
stein: Masterpieces of Twentieth-Century An 
from the Nordrhetn-Westfalen Collection in 
Diisseldorf, October 2-November 24, 
1974. Catalogue 

Orangerie des Tuileries, Paris, Art du XXe 
si'ecle, Fondation Peggy Guggenheim. Venise, 
November 30, 1974-March 3, 1975. 
Catalogue with text by Peggy 

Whitney Museum of American Art, 
Downtown Branch, New York, Subjects of 
the Artists: New York Painting 1941-1947 . 
April 22-May 28, 1975 

Institute for the Arts, Rice University, 
Houston, Marden. Novros. Rothko, 
April-May 1975. Catalogue published as 
Marden, Novros, Rothko: Painting in the Age 
of Actuality , Houston, 1978, with text by 
Sheldon Nodelman 

Cleveland Museum of Art, Landscapes. In- 
terior and Exterior: Avery, Rothko and 
Schueler. July 9-August 31, 1975. Cat- 
alogue with text by Edward B Henning 

The Jewish Museum, New York, Jewish Ex- 
perience in the Art of the Twentieth Century. 
October 16, 1975-January 25, 1976. 

Fort Worth Art Center Museum, Texas, 
Selections from the Permanent Collection and 
Fort Worth Private Collections, October 
26-November 9, 1975 

The Edmonton Art Galley, Edmonton, 
Canada, The Collective Unconscious: Ameri- 
can and Canadian Art: 1940-1950. De- 
cember 5, 1975-January 18, 1976. 
Catalogue with text by Karen Wilkin 

The Columbus Gallery of Fine Arts, Ohio, 
Aspects of Postwar Painting in America. 
January 17-February 29, 1976. Or- 
ganized by The Solomon R. Guggenheim 
Museum, New York. Catalogue. Traveled 
in revised and expanded form to The Sol- 

omon R. Guggenheim Museum, New 
York, as Acquisition Priorities: Aspects of 
Postwar Painting in America, October 15, 
1976-January 16, 1977. Separate 

The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, 
New York, Twentieth Century American 
Drawing: Three Avant-Garde Generations . 
January 23-March 28, 1976. Catalogue 
with text by Diane Waldman. Traveled as 
Amerikanische Zeichner des 20. Jahrhun- 
derts — Drei Generationen von der Armory 
Show bis Heute, to: Staatliche Kunsthalle 
Baden-Baden, May 26-July 11, 1976; 
Kunsthalle Bremen, July 18-August 29, 
1976. Separate catalogue in German with 
text by Waldman, additional text by Hans 
Albert Peters 

The Minneapolis Institute of Arts, America 
Nou\ February 20-May 2, 1976 

Heritage and Horizon: American Painting 
1776-1976. Organized by The Toledo 
Museum of Art, Ohio. Traveled to: 
Albnght-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, 
March 6-April 11, 1976; Detroit Institute 
of Arts, May 5-June 13, 1976; The Toledo 
Museum of Art, Ohio, July 4-August 15, 
1976; Cleveland Museum of Art, Sep- 
tember 8-October 10, 1976. Catalogue 
with texts by Robert T.Buck, Frederick J. 
Cummings, Sherman E. Lee and Otto W. 

Miami-Dade Community College, South 
Campus, Florida, Abstract Expressionism, 
Works from the Collection of the Whitney 
Museum of American Art, March 8-ApriI 1, 
1976. Catalogue 

Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, 
Smithsonian Institution, Washington, 
D.C., The Golden Door: Artist-Immigrants 
of America, 1876-1976. May 20-October 
20, 1976. Catalogue with texts by Daniel 
J. Boorstin and Cynthia Jaffee McCabe 

Fort Worth Art Center Museum, Texas, The 
Permanent Collection: A 75th Anniversary 
Retrospective, June 6-October 31, 1976 

Seibu Department Store Art Gallery, Tokyo, 
Three Decades of American Art, June 18- 

July 20, 1976. Organized by Whitney 
Museum of American Art, New York 

'American Moderns Fail ro Stit Tokyo," 
TheNeu- York Times. July 15, 1976. p. 40 

The Brooklyn Museum, New York, Ameri- 
can Water colors and Pastels from the Museum 
Collection. July 3-September 19, 1976 

Musee dArt et d'Histoire, Geneva, Peinture 
americaine en Suisse: 1950-1965 . July 
4-October 4, 1976. Catalogue with text 
by Charles Goerg 

Guild Hall, East Hampton, New York, 
Artists and East Hampton: A 100-Year Per- 
spective. August 14-October 3, 1976. 

The Museum of Modern Art, New York, The 
Natural Paradise: Painting in America 
1800-1950, October 1-November 30, 
1976. Catalogue with texts by Kynaston 
McShine, Barbara Novak, Robert 
Rosenblum and John Wilmerding 

Milwaukee Art Center, From Foreign Shores: 
Three Centuries of Art by Foreign Born Ameri- 
can Masters, October 15-November 28, 
1976. Catalogue with text by I. Michael 

Fort Worth Art Center Museum, Texas, 
Selections and New A cquisitions from the Fort 
Worth Art Museum Permanent Collection. 
January 9-February 20, 1977 

Kunsrhaus Zurich, Aspekte Konstruktiver 
Kunst. January 14-February 27, 1977. 

Rutgers University Art Gallery, New- 
Brunswick, New Jersey, Surrealism and 
American Art: 1931-1947 . March 5-April 
24, 1977. Catalogue with texts by Jack J. 
Spector and Jeffrey Wechsler 

South Dakota Memorial Art Center, Brook- 
ings, The Calligraphic Statement, March 
20-Apnl24, 1977 

Sidney Janis Gallery, New York, Less is 
More, April 7-May 7, 1977. Catalogue 
with text by S[idney] Jfanis] 

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Col- 

lectors, Collecting, Collection, April 22- 
June 5, 1977 

The Fitzwilliarn Museum. Cambridge, Eng- 
land , Jubilation: American Art During the 
Reign of Elizabeth 11. May 10-June 18, 
1977. Catalogue 

Palais des Beaux-Arts de Bruxelles, American 
Art in Belgium. May 25-August 28, 1977. 
Catalogue with texts by K.J. Geirlandt 
and G. Roque 

American Embassy, London, American Art at 
Home in Britain: The last four decades, July 
6-26, 1977. Organized by The Contem- 
porary Art Society in cooperation with 
United States Information Service. Cata- 
logue with text by Marina Vaizey 

The Parrish Art Museum, Southampton, 
New York, Twentieth Century American 
Paintings from the Metropolitan Museum of 
Art. September 25-December 31, 1977. 
Catalogue with texts by Henry Geldzahler 
and Helen A. Harrison 

The New York State Museum, Albany, New 
York: The State of Art. October 
9-November 27, 1977. Catalogue with 
texts by Robert Bishop, William H. 
Gerdts and Thomas B. Hess 

The San Jose Museum of Art, California, 
America VIII: Post-war Modernism, 
November 4-December 31, 1977. 

Grace Borgenicht Gallery, New York, Mil- 
ton Avery and His Friends. January 28- 
February 24, 1978 

Abstract Expressionism: The Formative Years. 
Organized by Herbert F. Johnson, 
Museum of Art, Ithaca, and Whitney 
Museum of American Art, New York. 
Traveled to: Herbert F. Johnson Museum 
of Art, Cornell University, Ithaca, New 
York, March 30-May 14, 1978; The Seibu 
Museum ot Art, Tokyo, June 17-July 12, 
1978; Whitney Museum of American Art, 
New York, October 5-December 3, 1978. 
Catalogue with texts by Robett Carleton 
Hobbs and Gail Levin 

//. One- Man 

Museum of Art, Portland. Oregon [Draw- 
ings and watercolors exhibited with work 
of the artist's students at Center School, 
Brooklyn], Summer 1933 

Bulletin of the Museum of An Portland, vol. 

3, no. 1, November-December, 1933, 

Contemporary Arts Gallery, New York, An 
Exhibition of Paintings by Marcus 
Rothkou'itz, November 21 -December 9, 


Jane Schwarrz, "Around the Galleries," 
Art News, vol. xxxii, no. 9, December 2, 
1933, p. 16 
Art of This Century, New York, Mark 

Rothko Paintings, January 9-February 4, 
1945- Catalogue with anonymous text 

Edward Alden Jewell, "Art: Diverse 
Shows," The New York Times. January 14, 

1945. Section II, p. 8 

"The Passing Shows," ArtNews, vol. xliii, 
no. 19, January 15-31, 1945, p. 27 

Maude Riley, "The Mythical Rothko and 
His Myths," The Art Digest, vol. 19, no. 
S.January 15, 1945, p. 15 

Mortimet Brandt Gallery, New York, Mark 
Rothko: Watercolors, April 22-May 4, 1946 

Edward Alden Jewell, "Art: Hither and 
Yon," The New York Times, April 28, 

1946, Section II, p. 6 

"Reviews and Previews," Art News, vol. 
xlv, no. 2, April 1946, p. 55 

Ben Wolf, "Mark Rothko Watercolors," 
The Art Digest, vol. 20, no. 15, May 1, 

1946, p. 19 

San Francisco Museum of Art, Oils and 
Watercolors by Mark Rothko, August 13- 
September 8, 1946. Traveled in part to 
The Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Sep- 
tembet 1946 

Donald Bear, "Rothko's Paintings High 
in Interest, But Far from Easy to 
Analyze," Santa Barbara News Press, Sep- 
tember 25, 1946, p. B8 

Betty Parsons Gallery, New York, Mark 
Rothko: Recent Paintings. March 3-22, 

Howard Devree, "Diverse New Shows," 
The New York Times. March 9, 1947, Sec- 
tion II, p. 7 

M[argaret] Bfreuning], "Fifty-seventh 
Street in Review: Subliminal Symbols," 
The Art Digest, vol. 21, no. 12, March 15, 

1947, p. 18 

"Reviews and Previews," Art News, vol. 
xlv, no. 13, March 1947, p. 42 

Betty Parsons Gallery, New York, Mark 
Rothko: Recent Paintings, March 8-27, 

Sam Hunter, "Diverse Modernism," The 
New York Times. March 14, 1948, Section 
II, p. x8 

"Reviews and Previews," Art News, vol. 
xlvii, no. 2, April 1948, p. 63 

Betty Parsons Gallery, New York, Mark 
Rothko, March 28-Apnl 16, 1949 

M[argaret] B[reuning], "Fifty-seventh 
Street in Review: Matk Rothko at Par- 
sons," The Art Digest, vol. 23, no. 14, 

April 15, 1949, p. 27 

Tfhomas] B H[ess], "Reviews and Pre- 
views," Art Neti'S, vol. xlvin, no. 2, April 
1949, p 48 
Betty Parsons Gallery, New York, Mark 
Rothko, January 3-2 1 , 1950 

Howard Devree, "In New Directions," 
The Neit 1 York Times, January 8, 1950, 
Section II, p. x 10 

Belle Krasne, "Mark of Rothko." The Art 
Digest, vol. 24, no. 8, January 15, 1950, 
p. 17 

Tfhomas] B H[ess], "Reviews and Pre- 
views," ArtNews, vol. xlviii, no. 10, Feb- 
ruary 1950, p. 46 

Betty Parsons Gallery, New York, Mark 
Rothko. April 2-12, 1951 

Carlyle Burrows, "Final Works by 
Beckmann and a Group of Americans," 
New York Herald Tribune. April 8, 195 1 , 
Section 4, p. 8 

Stuart Preston, "Chiefly Abstract." The 
New York Times, April 8, 195 1, Section II, 
p. x9 

M[aty] C[oIe], "Fifty-seventh Street in 
Review: Mark Rorhko," The Art Digest. 
vol. 25, no. 14, April 15, 1951, p. 18 

The Art Institute of Chicago, Recent Paint- 
ings by Mark Rothko. October 18- 
December 31, 1954. Traveled in part to 
Museum of Aft, Rhode Island School of 
Design, Providence, as Paintings by Mark 
Rothko. January 19-February 13, 1955 

Hubert Crehan, "Rothko's Wall of Light: 
A Show ot his New Work at Chicago," 
Arts Digest, vol. 29, no. 3, November 1, 

1954, pp. 5, 19 

Katharine Kuh, "Mark Rothko," The Art 
Institute of Chicago Quarterly, vol. xlviii, 
no. 4, November 15, 1954, p. 68 

Sidney Janis Gallery, New York, New Paint- 
ings by Mark Rothko, April 1 1-May 14, 

Robert M. Coates, "The Art Galleries," 
The New Yorker, vol. xxxi, no. 10, April 
23, 1955, p. 84 

L{averne] G[eorge], "Fortnight in Re- 
view," Arts Digest, vol. 29, no. 15, May 1, 

1955, p. 23 

T[homas] B. H{ess], "Reviews and Pre- 
views," ArtNews, vol. 54, no. 4, Summer 
1955, p. 54 

Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston, 
Mark Rothko, September 5 -October 6, 
1957. Caralogue with text by Elaine de 

Kooning, excerpted from "Two Ameri- 
cans in Action," Art News Annual 1958, 
see Bibliography, Articles on Rothko, p. 

Sidney Jams Gallery, New York, Nra Paint- 
ings by Mark Rothko, January 27-February 
22, 1958 

Dore Ashton, "Lettre de New York," 
Cimaise, serie 5, no. 4, March-April 1958, 
pp. 30-31 

Dore Ashton, "Art," Arts 6 Architecture. 
vol. 75, no. 4, April 1958. pp. 8, 29, 32 

E.C. Goossen, "The End of Wintet in 
New York," Art International, vol. ii, no. 
2-3, 1958, p. 37 

The Phillips Collection, Washington, DC. , 
Paintings by Mark Rothko, May 4-31, I960 

The Museum of Modem Art, New York, 
Mark Rothko. January 18-March 12, 
1961. Catalogue with text by Peter Selz. 
Circulated by The International Council 
of The Museum of Modern Art. Sepatate 
catalogue in language of each countty with 
text by Peter Selz and reprinted text by 
Robert Goldwatet. Traveled to: 
Whitechapel Art Gallery, London, as 
Mark Rothko: A Retrospective Exhibition 
Paintings 1945-1960. October 10- 
November 12, 1961, with catalogue with 
additional text by Btyan Robertson; 
Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, Novem- 
ber 24-December 27, 1961, with cata- 
logue with additional text in French by 
Emilio Villa; Palais des Beaux-Arts de 
Bruxelles, January 6-29, 1962; Kunst- 
halle Basel, March 3-ApriI 8, 1962, with 
catalogue in English and German; Gal- 
leria Nazionale d'Arte Moderna, Rome, 
April 27-May 20, 1962, with separate 
catalogue with text by Palma Bucarelli, 
none by Petet Selz; Musee d'Art Moderne 
de la Ville de Paris, December 5, 1962- 
January 13, 1963 

John Canaday, "Is Less More and When 
for Whom?: Rothko Show Raises Ques- 
tions About Painters, Critics and Audi- 
ence," The Neu' York Times. January 22, 
1961, p. xl7 

Robert M. Coates, "The Art Galleries," 
The New Yorker, vol. xxxvi, no. 50, 
January 28, 1961, pp. 78-81 
Irving Herschel Sandler, "New York Let- 
ter," Art International, vol. v, no. 2, 
March 1, 1961, pp. 40-41 
Kathanne Kuh, "The Fine Arts: Art 
Without Isms," Saturday Review, vol. 
xhv, no. 9, March 4, 1961, pp. 37, 145 
Robert Goldwater, "Reflections on the 
Rothko Exhibition," Arts, vol. 35, no. 6, 

March 1961, pp. 42-45 
Tfhomas] B. H[ess], "Reviews and Pre- 
views," Art News, vol. 60, no. 1, March 
1961, p. 10 

M[ax] Kozloff, "Mark Rorhko's New Re- 
trospecrive," Art Journal, vol. xx, no. 3, 
Spring 1961, pp. 148-149 
J. Harrison, "A Spirirual Experience: 
Painrmgs by Mark Rothko," The Times, 
London, October 13, 1961, p. 18 
Alan Bowness, "Absolutely Abstract," 
The Observer, Sunday, October 15, 1961 
John Russell, "A Grand Achievement of 
the Fifties," The Sunday Times, London, 
October 15, 1961, p. 39 
Keith Sutton, "Art: Round the London 
Galleries," The Listener, vol. lxvi, no. 
1699, October 19. 1961, p. 616 
J. Harrison, "Mark Rothko," The Arts 
Review, vol. xiii, no. 20, October 21- 
November4, 1961, pp. 2, 18 
Michael Fried, "London: Visitors from 
America," Arts, vol. 36, no. 3, December 
1961, pp. 38-39 

Jasia Reichardt, "Les Expositions a L'Et- 
ranger: Londres," Aujourd'hui, 6e annee, 
no. 34, December 1961, pp. 64-65 
Maria Netter, "Austellungen," Die 
Weltwoche. Zurich, |g. 30, no. 1480, 
March 23, 1962, p. 26 
Francesco Guerrien, "Mostre Romane: 
Mark Rothko," Auditorium, vol. xi, no. 
5-6, May-June 1962, pp. 20-21 
Marcelin Pleynet, "Exposition Mark 
Rothko," TelQual, no 12, Winter 1963, 
pp. 39-41 

Rolf-Gunter Dienst, "Pariser Kunst- 
winter," Das Kunstwerk, vol. xvi, no. 8, 
February 1963, p. 23 
John Ashbery, "Paris Notes," Art Interna- 
tional, vol. vii, no. 2, February 25, 1963, 
p. 72 

The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, 
New York, Five Mural Panels Executed for 
Harvard University by Mark Rothko, April 
9-June 2, 1963 

Brian O'Doherty, "Art: Rothko Panels 
Seen," The New York Times, April 10, 
1963, p. 36 

Irving Sandler, "In the Art Galleries," The 
New York Post, April 21, 1963, Magazine, 
p. 14 

Dfonald] J[udd] , "New York Exhibitions: 
In the Galleries," Arts, vol. 37, no. 10, 
September 1963, pp. 57-58 

Marlborough New London Gallery, London, 

Mark Rothko, February-March 1964. 

Keith Roberts, "Current and Forthcom- 
ing Exhibitions," Burlington Magazine, 
vol. cvi, no. 733, April 1964, p. 194 

Joseph Rykwert, "Mostre a Londra," 
Domus, no. 413, April 1964, p. 49 

G. S. Whittet, "London Commentary: 
Fresh Facets in Mature Artist's Work," 
Studio International, vol. 167, no. 853, 
May 1964, p. 216 

Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Moderne, Rome, 
Mark Rothko, 1965 

Marlborough New London Gallery, London, 
Mark Rothko, Winter 1965-66 

Pierre Rouve, "Rothko: Marlborough 
New London." The Arts Review, vol. xvi, 
no. 3, February 19, 1966, pp. 3, 17, 22 

The Museum of Modern Art, New York, 
Mark Rothko 1903-1970, March 26-May 
31, 1970 

Museo d'Arte Moderna Ca'Pesaro, Venice, 
Mark Rothko, June 21-October 15, 1970. 
Organized under the auspices of La 
XXXV Biennale Internazionale d'Arte di 
Venezia with the collaboration of 
Marlborough Gallery, New York. 
Catalogue with text by Guido Perocco. 
Traveled to Marlborough Gallery, New 
York, as Mark Rothko Paintings 1947- 

1970, November 13-December 5, 1970 

David L. Shirey, "Mark Rothko's Adapt- 
able Rectangles," The New York Times, 
November 21, 1970, p. 24 

Thomas B. Hess, "Rothko: A Venetian 
Souvenir," Art Neus, vol. 69, no. 7, 
November 1970, pp. 40-41, 72-74 

J. Patrice Marandel, "Lettre de New 
York," Art International, vol. xv, no. 1, 
January 20, 1971, p. 45 

Carter Ratcliff, "New York Letter," Art 
International, vol. xv, no. 1, January 20, 

1971, p. 26 

Kenneth Baker, "New York," Artforum, 
vol. ix, no. 5, January 1971, pp. 74-75 

Willis Domingo, "Galleries," Arts, vol. 
45, no. 4, February 1971, p. 55 

Galleria Martano, Turin, Mark Rothko, 
March 17-ApriI 20, 1971. Catalogue 

Robert Kudielka, "Ausstellungen," Das 
Kunstwerk, vol. xxiv, no. 3, May 1971, 
pp. 51-52 

Bergamo, Galleria Lorenzelli; Mark 
Rothko, March 1971. Catalogue with ex- 
cerpts from reprinted texts by Marie- 
Claude Dane, Sam Hunter, Georgine 
Oeri, Peter Selz, Guido Perocco, Michel 
Ragon, Rothko and Peter Selz 

Kunsthaus Zurich, Mark Rothko, March 
21-May 9, 1971. Separate catalogue in 
language of each country with text by 
Donald McKinney and reprinted text by 
Rothko. Traveled to: Staatliche Museen 
Preussischer Kulturbesitz, Neue 
Nationalgalerie, Berlin, May 26-July 19, 
1971; Stadtische Kunsthalle Diisseldorf, 
as Gemalde von Mark Rothko ( 1 903-1970) , 
August 24-October 3, 1971; Museum 
Boymans van Beuningen, Rotterdam, 
November 20, 1971-January 2, 1972. 
Traveled in part to: Hayward Gallery, 
London, February 2-March 12, 1972; 
Musee National d'Art Moderne, Paris, 
March 23-May 8, 1972 

James Burr, "London Galleries: Caliban 
and Calm," Apollo, vol. xcv, no. 120, 
February 1972, p. 139 

Christopher Neve, "Pictures Must Be 
Miraculous: Rothko at the Hayward Gal- 
lery," Country Life, vol. cli, no. 3897, 
February 17, 1972, p. 391 

Keith Roberts, "Current and Forthcom- 
ing Exhibitions," The Burlington 
Magazine, vol. cxiv, no. 828, March 
1972, p. 190 

Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, 
Salute to Mark Rothko, May 6-June 20, 
1971. Catalogue with text by Andrew 
Carnduff Ritchie 

Newport Harbor Art Museum, Newport 
Beach, California, 10 Major Works: Mark 
Rothko, January 30-March 10, 1974. 
Catalogue with texts by James B. Byrnes 
and Morton H. Levine 

William Wilson, "A Window in the 
World of Mark Rothko," The Los Angeles 
Times, February 24, 1974 

Mantua, Galleria Civica d'Arte Moderna, 
Mark Rothko: Mostra didattica, December 
1977. Catalogue with text by Ida Panicelli 

Selected Bibliography 

/. General Books 

Sidney Jams, Abstract and Surreal at Art m America. New York, 1944, 
pp. 88, 118 

John I. H. Baur, Revolution ami Tradition in Modern American Art, 
Cambridge, Massachusetts, 195 1, pp. 71, 72, 120 

Thomas B. Hess, Abstract Painting: Background and American Phase. 
New York, 1951, pp. 145, 146, 150-152 

William C. Seitz, Abstract-Expressionist Painting in America: An In- 
terpretation Based on the Work and Thought of Six Key Figures, unpub- 
lished Ph. D dissertation, Princeton University, 1955, passim 

Rudi Blesh, Modern An U.S.A.: Men. Rebellion. Conquest. 1900- 
1956. New York, 1956, pp. 172, 226, 227, 234, 243, 247, 250, 
264-266, 291 

Selden Rodman, Conversations with Artists. New York, 1957, pp. 5 1 , 
55, 84, 92-96, 99, 108, 111, 114 

Sam Hunter, "U.S.A." in Art Since 1945. Milton S. Fox, ed., New 
York, ca. 1958, pp. 283-348 

Virgil Barker, From Realism to Reality m Recent American Painting. 
Lincoln, Nebraska, 1959, pp. 89-91 

Clement Greenberg, Art and Culture: Critical Essays. Boston, 196 1 , 
pp. 125, 169, 219, 222, 225-226, 233, 234 

Current Biography Yearbook. Charles Moritz, ed.. New York, 1961, 
pp. 397-399 

Dore Ashton, The Unknown Shore: A View of Contemporary Art. Bos- 
ton, Toronto, 1962, pp. 25-26, 27,42, 57, 59-60, 66, 71-78, 109, 
170, 199, 226, 241-242, 249 

Henry Geldzahler, American Painting in the Twentieth Century. New 
York, 1965, pp. 172, 188-189 

Modern Art: From Fauvism to Abstract Expressionism . David Sylvestet, 
ed., New York, 1965, pp. 112-113 

Barbara Rose, American Art Since 1900: A Critical History. New 
York, 1967, pp. 126, 134, 163, 164, 167, 187, 189, 192, 194, 

195, 196-197, 207, 208. 209, 224, 226, 233, 257; revised and 
enlarged, New York, Washington, DC, 1975, pp. 104, 112, 135. 

138, 141, 159, 161, 163, 166-167, 168, 170, 177-179, 192, 194, 
231-232, 258 

Theories of Modern Art: A Source Book by Artists and Critics. Herschel B. 
Chipp, ed., Berkeley, Los Angeles, 1968, pp. 544-545, 548-549 

Readings in American Art Since 1900: A Documentary Survey, Barbara 
Rose, ed., New York, 1968, pp. 143-145, 160; revised and en- 
larged as Readings in American Art 1900—1915: A Documentary Sur- 
vey. New York, 1975, pp. 111-113, 134, 136-137, 160, 162, 198 

H. H. Arnason, History of Modern Art: Painting. Sculpture. Architec- 
ture. New York, ca. 1968, pp. 432, 488, 508, 537, 621, 624; 
revised and enlarged. New York, 1977, pp. 436, 508, 533-534, 
678, 683 

Barbara Rose, American Painting: The Twentieth Century. Switzerland, 
1969, pp. 36, 57,63,64,70,72,73,77,80.85-87,90, 102, 103, 

Ronald Alley, Recent American Art. London, 1969, p. 7 

Dore Ashton, A Reading of Modern Art, Cleveland, London, 1969, 
pp. 25-31 

Edward Lucie-Smith, Late Modern: The Visual Arts Since 1945, New 
York, Washington, DC, 1969, pp. 38, 42 

Harold Rosenberg, Artworks and Packages . New York, 1969, pp. 44, 
101, 113, 116, 125, 126, 150, 158, 188, 191, 192,222 

Irving Sandler, The Triumph of American Painting: A History of 
Abstract Expressionism . New York, Washington, D.C., 1970, passim 

Betnhard Kerber. Amerikamsche Kunst Sett 1945. Stuttgart, 1971, 
pp. 10, 51-54, 56, 59, 65,66-68, 85, 149, 207-208 

Art Since Mid-Century: The New Internationalism. Greenwich, Con- 
necticut, 1971, vol. I , Abstract Art , pp. 14,50, 51,52, 57-58,62, 
140, 150. 156, 231, 232, 244 

Dore Ashton, TheNew YorkSchool: A Cultural Reckoning. New York, 
1972, passim 

Harold Rosenberg, The De-Definition of Art, New York, 1972, pp. 
92, 96, 97, 100-107, 130, 193, 194, 218 

Joseph Solman, 'The Easel Division of the WPA Federal Art Proj- 
ect," The New Deal Art Projects: An Anthology of Memoirs. Francis V. 
O'Connor, ed., Washington, DC, 1972, pp. 115-130 

Sam Hunter, American An of the 20th Century. New York, ca. 1972, 

Brian O'Doherty, American Masters: The Voice and the Myth. New 
York, ca. 1973, pp. 23, 24, 25, 88, 90, 105, 111, 120, 121, 
150-187, 199, 232, 249, 257, 258, 274, 281, 282 

Peter Plagens, Sunshine Muse: Contemporary Art on the West Coast. New 
York, Washington, D.C., 1974, pp. 23, 32, 35, 36. 37. 41, 42, 43, 
46, 69, 75, 78, 132 

Cor Blok, Geschichte der Abstrakten Kunst 1900-1960. Cologne, 
1975, pp. 113, 114, 116, 117, 118, 122, 125, 127, 128, 145, 148, 
154, 172, 174 

Robert Rosenblum, Modern Painting and the Northern Romantic Tradi- 
tion: Friedrich to Rothko, New York, Evanston, San Francisco, Lon- 
don, 1975, pp. 173-218 

Paul Cummings, A Dictionary of Contemporary American Artists. New 
York, London, 1977, third edition, pp. 418-419 

//. General Articles 

Jules Langsner, "More About the School of New York," Arts and 
Architecture, vol. 68, no. 5, May 1951, pp. 20,46 

B. H. Friedman, "The New Baroque," Arts Digest, vol. 28, no. 
20, September 15, 1954, pp. 12-13 

Clement Greenberg, "'American-Type' Painting," Partisan Review, 
vol. xxii, no. 2, Spring 1955, pp. 179-196. Reprinted in Green- 
berg. Art and Culture. 1961, see General Books, p. 292 

Meyer Schapiro, "The Younger American Painters of Today," The 
Listener, vol. 1402, January 26, 1956, pp. 146-147 

Hubert Crehan, "Is there a California School?" Art Neus. vol. 54, 
no. 9, January 1956, pp. 32-35, 64 

"Art: The Wild Ones," Time. vol. Ixxii, no. 8, February 20, 1956, 
pp. 70-75 

Herbert Read, "An Art of Internal Necessity," Quadrum. no. 1, May 
1956, pp. 7-22 

Dore Ashton, "L'Apporr artistique des Etats-Unis," XX< Steele. 
nouvelle serie, no. 7, June 1956, pp.69— 72 

Clement Greenberg, "New York painting only yesterday," Art 
News, vol. 56, no. 4, Summer 1957, pp. 58-59, 84-86 

Lawrence Alloway, "6. Background to Action: The Words," Art 
News and Review, vol. ix, no. 26, January 18, 1958, pp. 3-4 

William Rubin, "The New York School — Then and Now, Part II," 
Art International, vol. li, no. 4—5, May-June 1958, pp. 19—22 

Robert Rosenblum, "Unite et divergences de la peinture amencaine: 
La peinture amencaine depuis la seconde guerre mondiale," Au- 
jourd'hui: art et architecture, 3 18, July 1958, pp. 12-18 

Lawrence Alloway, "Art in New York Today," The Listener, vol. Ix, 
no. 1543, October 23, 1958, pp. 647-648 

E. C. Goossen, "The Big Canvas," Art International, vol. 2, no. 8, 
November 1958, pp. 45-47. Reprinted in The New Art: A Critical 
Anthology. Gregory Battcock, ed.. New York, 1966, pp. 48—56 

Dorothy Seiberling, "Part I, Baffling U.S. Art: What It Is About." 
Life. vol. 47, no. 19, November 9, 1959. pp. 68-80; "Part II, The 
Varied Art of Four Pioneers," no. 20, November 16, 1959, pp. 


Herbert Read and H. Harvard Arnason, "Dialogue on Modern U.S. 
Painting," Art News. vol. 59. no. 3. May 1960, pp. 33-36 

Dore Ashton, "Perspective de la peinture amencaine," Cahiers d'Art, 
annees 33-35, 1960, pp. 203-221 

Robert Goldwatet , "Reflections on the New York School, Quadrum, 
no. viii, 1960, pp. 17—36 

Robert Rosenblum, "The Abstract Sublime," Art Neus, vol. 59, no. 
10, February 1961, pp. 38-41, 56, 58. Reprinted in The Metropoli- 
tan Museum of Art, New York, New York Painting and Sculpture, 
1969, see Group Exhibitions, p. 287 

Rachel Jacobs, "L'ideologie de la peinture amencaine," Aujourd'hui: 
art et architecture. 6eannee, no. 37, June 1962, pp. 6—19 

Clement Greenberg, "Attet Abstract Expressionism," Art Interna- 
tional, vol. vi, no. 8, October 25, 1962, pp. 24-32. Reprinted in 
The Metropolitan Museum of Arr, New York, New York Paintingand 
Sculpture, 1969, see Group Exhibitions, p. 287 

Lawrence Alloway, "The American Sublime," Living Arts , vol. i, no. 
2, June 1963, pp. 11-22 

Max Kozloff, "A Letter to the Editor: An Answer to Clement Green- 
berg's Article 'After Abstract Expressionism,'" Art International. 
vol. vu, no. 6, June 25, 1963, pp. 88-92 

Edward B. Henning, "In Pursuit of Content," The Bulletin of the 
Cleveland Museum of Art . vol. 50, no. 8, October 1963, pp. 218-239 

Dore Ashton, "La Voix du tourbillon dans l'Amerique de Kafka," 
XXiSi'ecle. nouvelle serie, xxvieannee, no. 23, May 1964, pp. 92—96 

ThomasB. Hess, "Private faces in public places," ArtNeus. vol. 63, 
no. 10, February 1965, pp. 36-38, 62 

Lawrence Alloway, "The Biomorphic Forties," Artforum. vol. iv, no. 
1, September 1965, pp. 18-22 

Barnert Newman interviewed by Neil A. Levine, "The New York 
School Question." Art Neus. vol. 64, no. 5, September 1965, pp. 
38-41, 55-56 

Matthew Baigell, American abstract expressionism and hard edge: 
some comparisons," studio international, vol. 171, no. 873, January 
1966, pp. 10-15 

Marcelin Pleyner, "De la peinture americaine (III)," Les Lettres fran- 
faises, no. 1 177, April 6- 12, 1967, pp. 31-32 

Irving Sandler, "Dada, Surrealism and Their Heritage: 2. The Sur- 
realist Emigres in New York," Artforum, vol. vi, no. 9, May 1968, 
pp. 24-31 

Bernhard Kerber, "Der Ausdruck des Sublimen in der amerikanis- 
chen Kunst," Art lnternatinal . vol. xin, no. 10, Christmas 1969, pp. 

Lawrence Alloway, "The Specrrum of Monochrome," Arts Magazine. 
December— January 1971, vol. 45, no. 3, pp. 30—33 

John Chandler, "The colors of monochrome: An introduction to the 
seduction ot reduction," artscanada, vol. xxvin, no. 160/161, 
October/November 1971, pp. 18—31 

Donald B. Kuspit, "The Illusion ot the Absolute in Abstract Art," 
Artjournal, vol. xxxi, no. 1, Fall 1971, pp. 26-30 

Edward M. Levine, "Abstract Expressionism: The Mystical Experi- 
ence," An Journal, vol. xxxi, no. 1, Fall 1971, pp. 22-25 

Morton Feldman, "After Modernism," Art in America, vol. 59, no. 
six, November-December 1971, pp. 68—77 

Barbara Rose, "Mondrian in New York," Artjorum. vol. x, no. 4, 
December 1971, pp. 54-63 

Charles Harrison, "Abstract Expressionism II," Studio International . 
vol. 185, no. 952, February 1973, pp. 53-60 

Lawrence Alloway, "Residual Sign Systems in Abstract Expres- 
sionism," Artforum, vol. xii, no. 3. November 1973. pp. 36—42 

Les Levine, "Lone Star Four," Arts Magazine, vol. 48, no. 6, March 
1974, pp. 30-39 

Janet Kutner, "Brice Marden, David Novros, Mark Rothko: The 
Urge to Communicate Through Non-Imagistic Painting," Arts 
Magazine, vol. 50, no. 1, September 1975, pp. 61-63 

Jeremy Gilbert-Rolfe, "Appreciating Ryman," Arts Magazine, vol. 
50, no. 4, December 1975, pp. 70-73 

Amy Goldin, "Abstract Expressionism, No Man's Landscape," Art 
in America, vol. 64, no. one, January-February 1976, pp. 77—79 

Harry Rand, "Adolph Gottlieb in Context," Arts Magazine, vol. 51, 
no. 6, February 1976, 112-135 

Donald B. Kuspit, "Symbolic Pregnance in Mark Rothko and Clyf- 
ford Still," Arts Magazine, vol. 52, no. 7, March 1978, pp. 120-125 

///. Articles on Rothko 

"Brown Belittles Drawings in Book," The Neti' York Times. January 
5, 1929 

Ofscar] Cfollier], "Mark Rothko, The New Iconograph, no. 4, Fall 
1947, pp. 41-44 

Douglas MacAgy, "Mark Rothko," Magazine of Art, vol. 42, no. 1, 
January 1949, pp. 20-21 

Dore Ashton, "Mark Rothko," Arts & Architecture, vol. 74, no. 8, 
August 1957, pp. 8, 31 

Dore Ashton, "Art: Lecture by Rothko," The New York Times. 
October 31, 1958, p. 26 

Dore Ashton, "L'Automne a New York: Letter from New York," 
Cimatse, serie vi, no. 2, December 1958, pp. 37-40 

Elaine de Kooning, "Two Americans in Action: Ftanz Kline and 
Mark Rothko," Art News Annual, vol. xxvii, 1958, pp. 86-97, 

Gabnella Drudi, "Mark Rothko," Appia, vol. 2, January I960, n.p. 

Emilio Villa, "Idee de Rothko," Appia, vol. 2, January 1960, n.p. 

Georgine Oeri, "Tobey and Rothko," Baltimore Museum of Art News 

Quarterly, vol. xxiii, no. 2, Winter 1960, pp. 2—8 

E. C. Goossen, "Rothko: The Omnibus Image," Art Neus. vol. 59, 
no. 9, January 1961, pp. 38-40, 60-61 

L. Picard, "Mark Rothko," Das Kunstwerk, vol. xiv, no. 10—11, 
April/May 1961, pp. 33-40 

Georgine Oeri, "Mark Rothko," Quadrum. no. x, 1961, pp. 65—74 

Lawrence Alloway, "Notes on Rothko," Art International, vol.6, no. 
5-6, 1962, pp. 90-94 

Jose-Augusto Franca, "Mark Rothko et lespace continu," au- 
jourd'hui: art et architecture, 7e annee, no. 40, January 1963, pp. 

Dora Vallier, "Rothko ou ('absence de theme devenue theme," XXe 
Steele, xxvc annee, no. 21, May 1963, pp. 53-56. Reprinted in XXe 
Steele, nouvelle serie, xxxv t annee, no. 40, June 1973, pp. 98-103 

Philippe Sollers, "Le Mur du Sens," Art de France, vol. 4, 1964, pp. 

Max Kozloff, "The Problem of Color-Light in Rothko," Artforum. 
vol. iv, no. 1, September 1965, pp. 38—44 

"Mark Rothko, Artist, a Suicide Here at 66," The New York Times, 
February 26, 1970, pp. 1, 39 

Hilton Ktamer, "A Pure Abstractionist: Rothko's Work in Color, 
Conveyed Luminosity Yet an Extreme Serenity," The New York 
Times, February 26, 1970, p. 39 

Maria Netter, "Ende einer Pionierarbeit: Zum Tode des Malers Mark 
Rothko," Die Weltwoche. jg. 38, vol. 10, March 6, 1970, p. 35 

William Rubin. "Mark Rothko 1903-70, The New York Times, 
March 8, 1970, pp. 21, 22 

Harold Rosenberg, "The Art World: Rothko," The New Yorker, vol. 
xlvi, no. 6, March 28, 1970, pp. 90-95 

Robert Olmos, "Mrs. Allen About Her Brother," Northwest 
Magazine, March 29, 1970, p. 21 

T[homas] B. H[ess], "Editorial: Mark Rothko, 1903-1970," Art 
News. vol. 69, no. 2, April 1970, pp. 29, 66, 67 

Max Kozloff, "Mark Rothko ( 1903- 1970)," Artforum. vol. vni, no. 
8, April 1970, pp. 88-89 

John Fischer, "Mark Rothko: portrait ot the artist as an angry man," 
Harper's, vol. 241, no. 1442, July 1970, pp. 16-23 

R. C. Kenedy, "Mark Rothko," Art International, vol. xiv, no. 8, 
October 20, 1970, pp. 45-49 

Brian O'Doherty, "Rothko," Art International, vol. xiv, no. 8, 
October 20, 1970, pp. 30-44 

Alastair Gordon, "In the Galleries: The Rothko Room," The Connois- 
seur, vol. 175. no. 706, December 1970, p. 303 

Mrs. John de Menil, "Address given in The Rothko Chapel," Feb- 
ruary 26, 1971. Transcript on deposit in Rothko file, Whitney 
Museum of American Art, New York 

"Celebration of Genius at the Rothko Chapel," Vogue, vol. 157, no. 
5, March 1, 1971, pp. 109-111 

Lawrence Alloway, "Art," The Nation, vol. 212, no. 11, March 15, 
1971, pp. 349-350 

Robert Goldwater, "Rothko's Black Paintings," Art in America, vol. 
59, no. two, Match-April 1971, pp. 58-63 

Kathatine Kuh, "The Fine Arts: A Maximum of Poignancy," Satur- 
day Review, vol. liv, no. 16, Aptil 17, 1971, pp. 52, 81 

Tthomas] B. H[ess], "Editorial: Can Art Be Used?" Art News, vol. 
70, no. 2, April 1971, p. 33 

Jean-Patrice Matandel, "Une chapelle oecumenique au Texas," 
L'Oeil, no. 197, May 1971, pp. 16-19 

Dominique de Menil, "The Rothko Chapel," Art Journal, vol. xxx, 
no. 3, Spring 1971, pp., 249-251 

Dore Ashton, "The Rothko Chapel in Houston," Studio, vol. 181, 
no. 934, June 1971, pp. 273-275 

Andtew Causey, "Rothko through his paintings," Studio Interna- 
tional, vol. 183, no. 943, April 1972, pp. 149-155 

Brian O'Doherty, "The Rothko Chapel," Art in America, vol. 61, no. 
one, January— February 1973, pp. 14—18, 20 

Wallace Putnam, "Mark Rothko Told Me," Arts Magazine, vol. 48, 
no. 7, April 1974, pp. 44-45 

Brian O'Doherty, "Rothko: Failure was His Success," The New York 
Post. July 27, 1974, p. 34 

Harold Rosenberg, "The Art Wotld: Death and the Artist," The New 
Yorker, vol. li, no. 5, March 24, 1975, pp. 69-75 

Ann Holmes, "The Rothko Chapel Six Yeats Latet ," Art News, vol. 
75, no. 10, December 1976, pp. 35-37 

Dore Ashton, "Oranges and Lemons, An Adjustment," Arts 
Magazine, vol. 51, no. 6, February 1977, p. 142 

Russell E. Bowman, A New Acquisition by Mark Rothko, The David 
and Alfred Smart Gallery, University of Chicago, 1977 

Robert F. Phillips, "Abstract Exptessionists: Mark Rothko 1903- 
1970," Museum News, The Toledo Museum of Art, vol. 19, no. 4, 
1977, pp. 98-101 

George Dennison, "The Painting of Matk Rothko," unpublished, 
n.d. On deposit in Rothko file, The Museum of Modem Art, 
New York 

Joseph Liss, "Portrait by Rothko," unpublished, n.d. On deposit in 
Rothko file, Whitney Museum of American Art, New Yotk 

IV. By Rothko 

Marcus Rothkowitz and Bernard Bradden [Statement], in Mercury 
Galleries, New York, The Ten: Whitney Dissenters, November 5 
-26, 1938 

Marcus Rothko and Adolph Gottlieb with unacknowledged collab- 
oration ot Barnett Newman [Letter], in Edward Alden Jewell, "The 
Realm of Art: A New Platform and Other Matters: 'Globalism' Pops 
into View," TheNew York Times, June 13, 1943, p. x9- Reprinted in 
part in Hess, Abstract Painting, 1951; Blesh, Modern Art U.S.A., 
1956; Ashton, The Unknown Shore, 1962; Chipp, Theories in Modern 
Art, 1968; Sandler, The Triumph of American Painting, 1970, see 
General Books, p. 292 

Mark Rothko and Adolph Gottlieb, "The Portrait and the Modern 
Artist," WNYC Art in New York broadcast, October 13, 1943. 
Excerpts from transcript in Los Angeles County Museum of Art, The 
New York School, 1965, see Group Exhibitions, p. 286; Sandler, The 
Triumph of American Painting, 1970, see General Books, p. 292 

"Personal Statement" in David Porter Gallery, Washington, D.C., 
A Painting Prophecy-1950. February 1945. Reprinted in pair in Los 
Angeles County Museum of Art, The New York School, 1965, see 
Group Exhibitions, p. 286; in full in Readings in American Art 
1900-1975. 1975, see General Books, p. 292 

"Clyfford Still" in Art of This Century, New York, Clyfford Still. 
February 12— March 7, 1946. Reprinted in part in Sandler, The 
Triumph of American Painting, 1970, see General Books, p. 292 

"The Ides of Art: The Attitudes of 10 Artists on their Art and 
Contempotaneousness," The Tiger's Eye, vol. 1, no. 2, December 
1947, p. 44. Reprinted in The Museum of Modern Art, New York, 
15 Americans, 1952, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, The New 
York School, 1965, see Group Exhibitions, pp. 283, 286 

"The Romantics Were Prompted," Possibilities 1 . Wintet 1947/8, p. 
84. Reprinted in Kunsthaus Zurich, Mark Rothko, 1971, see One- 
Man Exhibitions, p. 291; Theories of Modern Art, 1968, Readings in 
American Art Since 1900, 1968, tevised edition, 1975, see General 
Books, p. 292 

"Statement on his Attitude in Painting," The Tiger's Eye, vol. 1, no. 
9, October 1949, p. 1 14. Reprinted in The Museum of Modetn Art, 
New York, 15 Americans, 1952; The New American Painting, 1958, 
Knoedler, Paris, Six peintres americatns, 1967, see Group Exhibi- 
tions, pp. 283, 286; Readings in American Art Since 1900, 1968, 
revised edition, 1975, see General Books, p. 292 

"A Symposium on How to Combine Architecture, Painting and 
Sculpture," Interiors, vol. ex, no. 10, May 1951, p. 104. Reprinted 
in part in Los Angeles County Museum of Art, TheNew York School, 
1965, see Group Exhibitions, p. 286; Readings in American Art Since 
1900, 1968, revised edition, 1975; Art Since Mid-Century, 1971, 
vol. 1, see General Books, p. 292 

Unpublished letter to Lloyd Goodrich, Directot, Whitney Museum 
of American Art, New York, December 20, 1952. On deposit in 
Rothko file, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York 

Unpublished letter to Rosalind Irvine, Whitney Museum of Ameri- 
can Art, New York, April 9. 1957. On deposit in Rothko file, 
Whitney Museum of Ametican Art, New York 

"Editor's Letters," Art News, vol. 56, no. 8, December 1957, p. 6 

[Interview with Rothko] in Selden Rodman, Conversations with Ar- 
tists, New York, 1957, pp. 93, 94 

[Lecture] delivered Fall 1958, Pratt Institute, Brooklyn. Excerpts 
from transcript in Los Angeles County Museum of Art, TheNew York 
School, 1965, see Group Exhibitions, p. 286; Dore Ashton, "Aft: 
Lectute by Rothko," TheNew York Times, October 31, 1958, p. 26, 
Dore Ashton, "Letter from New York," Cimaise. no. 6, December 
1958, pp. 37-40, see articles on Rothko, p. 294; Art Since Mid- 
Century. 1971, vol. 1, see General Books, p. 292 

Eulogy for Milton Avety, delivered January 7, 1965, New York 
Society for Ethical Culture, New York. Transcript published in 
National Collection of Fine Arts, Smithsonian Institution, Wash- 
ington, DC, Milton Avery. December 12, 1969-January 25, 1970 

Photographic Credits 

Works in the exhibition 


Albnght-Knox Art Gallery . Buffalo tat no 132 
rsit) Arr Museum, University ol ( 

Henry B Beville cai nos 1 18. 131 
Lee Bolnn cat no 95 
Will Brown cat no 1 12 

Courtesy The Art Institute of Chicago; cat- no 88 
Courtesy Dartmouth Art Galleries and Collections, New Hamp- 
shire cat no. 165 
Courtesy Gimpel and Hanover Galene. Zurich: cat no. 127 
Courtesy Arnold and Mill) Glimcher cat no 154 
Courtesy Graham Gund: cat nos. 103, 122 
Bruce C Jones: cat. nos. 114. 115. 134. 159. 168. 183 
Courtesy Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, Dusseldorf: 

cat no. 163 
Courtesy Mr and Mrs Richard E Lang cat no 182 
Paul M Macapia, Seattle Art Museum; cat. no. 104 
Aida and Bob Mates cat nos. 121, 150 
Robert E Mates and Mary Donlon: cat. nos. 19. 22. 3 I 

70. 74, 86,87, 89, 90. 92. 93. 99, 110, 111. 113. 117, 11V. 
123. 125. 128. 135. 138. 142. 145. 146. 149. 153. 157. 
158. 160. 162. 166, 169. 172, 173. 178. 179. 186. 187. 
190. 191, 194. 195. 198 
Courtesy The Mayot Gallery. London: cat no 1 16 
Courtesy McCrory Corporation. New York: cat. no. 107 
Courtesy David McKee Gallery. New- York: cat no 139 
Allen Mewbourn: cat no. 167 

Courtesy The Museum of Modern Art. New York; cat no. 91 
Courtesy Munson-Williams-Proctor Institute. Utica, New York: 

cat. no. 100 
Courtesy Art Gallery of Ontario: cat. no. 171 
Courtesy The Pace Gallery. New York: cat. no. 136 
Courtesy Count Panza di Biumo: cat nos. 108, 137 
Courtesy The Parnsh Art Museum, Southampton. New York: 

cat no 7 3 
Courtesy Mr and Mrs Joseph Pulitzer, Jr.: cat. no. 16 1 
Courtesy Museum of Art. Rhode Island School of Design. Provi- 
dence; cat no. 120 
Courtesy The St Louis Art Museum: cat no. 174 
Elton Schnellbacher: cat. no. 124 
F.J Thomas: cat. nos. 140. 170 
Malcolm Varon; cat no 96 
Herbert Vose cat no. 77 

Black and white 

Courtesy Acquavella Contemporary Art. Inc., New- York cat 

no 148 
Courtesy Galene Beyeler, Basel cat no 101 
Courtesy Bradley Family Foundation. Inc., Milwaukee <.at 

no. 130 
Courtesy Olive Bragazzi Fine Arts Service, photo by Charles Uht: 

cat no 181 
Courtesy The Brooklyn Museum car no 52 
Courtesy Gerald S Elliott. Chicago, photo by Jonas Dovydenas: 

cat. no 143 
Courtesy The Fort Worth Art Museum: cat no 151 
Phillip Galgiani; cat no 43 

Robert E Mates and Mary Donlon cat nos. 1-18. 20. 2 1 . 23- 
30. 32. 33. 35-41.44-51. 53-61.71.72,75.76,78-84. 
94.97. 102. 106. 109, 133. 180. 188. 189, 192. 193. 196. 197 

Courtesy The Metropolitan Museum of* Art, New York: cat 

no 155 
Courtesy The Museum of Modern Art, New York; cat nos 

98. 152 
Courtesy The Museum of Modern Art. New York, photo by 

Rudolph Butckhardt cat no 144 
( curtesy The Museum of Modern Art, New York photo by 

Geoffrey Clements cat no 85 
I I 1 Nelson tat no 185 

Courtesy The Paie Gallery. New York cat no 184 
Courtesy Count Panza di Biumo. photo by Gian Sinigaglia tat 

no [29 
Quinconi-Tropea; tat no 147 

Courtesy Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art cat no 126 
Courtesy The Toledo Museum or Art cat no 156 
Courtesy Mr and Mrs Burton Tremaine; cat. no. 105 
Courtesy Whitney Museum of American Art. New York: cat 


Supplementary illustrations and figures 
in the text 

Courtesy Albnght-Knox Aft Gallery, Buffalo. New York: figs 

Jorg P. Anders: fig. 51 
Courtesy Archives of American Art. Smithsonian Institution. 

George Piatt Lynes Photograph Collection: p 269 
Courtesy The Baltimore Museum of Art: fig. 8 
Regina Bogat frontispiece 

Courtesy Mrs Adolph Gottlieb. New York, fig 24 
Courtesy Adolph and Esther Gottlieb Foundation lnc : figs. 

25 27 
Hickey & Robertson. Houston, figs 49,50 
Bruce C Jones: fig 12 
Consuelo Kanaga: p. 14 top, p. 17 
Walter Klein, Dusseldorf: fig 19 
Nina Leen, Life Magazine © Time lnc p. 273 top 
Alexander Liberman: p. 14 bottom, p 7 1, p. 27 1 bottom 
Courtesy University of Maryland Art Gallety. College Park, 

photo by Jack D Teemer. Jr : fig 23 
Robert E. Mates and Mary Donlon figs. 28, 35. 37 
Courtesy The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York: figs. 

6. 22 
Courtesy The Museum of Modern Art. New York: figs. 14. 18. 

29. 36.42. 44 
Courtesy The Museum of Modern Art. New York, photo by 

Soichi Sunami: figs 7, 43. 46 
Courtesy Dr Max Naimark fig 4. p 265 right 
Hans Namuth: p. 277 top and middle, p 279 
Courtesy Oregon Histoncal Society. Portland: figs. 2. 3. p 265 

Courtesy Philadelphia Museum of Art fig. 45 
David Preston: fig 26 
Courtesy Rheinisches Bildarchiv. fig 32 
Courtesy Kate Rothko Prizel p 1 1, p 265 middle, p. 270 all. 

p 273 bottom, p 275 bottom, p 277 top 
Courtesy Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design, Provi- 
dence fig 10 
Courtesy Estate of Mary Alice Rothko figs 15. 16, 17,30 
Courtesy Estate of Mary Alice Rothko, photo by Henry Elkan: 

p. 274 top and bottom , p 275 top and bottom 
Courtesy The Si Louis Art Museum, fig 9 
Courtesy San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; fig 38 
Aaron Siskind p 280 left and right 
Courtesy The Tate Gallery . London figs 47, 48 
Courtesy The Tel Aviv Museum; tig 2 1 
Courtesy Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, photo 

by Geoffrey Clements: figs 5. 13 

S ° l0m0n ,SBSSa62SSS ««eum 



ND237.R725 A4 1978 
Mark Rothko, 1903-1970 
Rothko, Mark, 

ND237.R725 A4 1978 
Mark Rothko, 1903-1970 
Rothko, Mark, 

ISBN 0-89207-014-5